Belgium’s foreign minister Didier Reynders seems a jolly fellow. He should be, given that Gérard Depardieu has chosen to live in Belgium and engage in a shouting match with the French government over French income taxes, which are high. Today Reynders gave an interview to the centre-right newspaper Le Figaro, where critics of the socialist president François Hollande are made to feel comfortable.
Dépardieu’s arrival is a good-news story for Belgium, which could use one; Wikipedia’s entry on Belgium’s “2007-2011 political crisis” seems to me to have pretty arbitrary start and end dates. Reynders’ interview catches the longtime former finance minister in an ebullient and cutting mood. On French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault’s use of the word “pathetic” (minable) to describe Dépardieu: “These are words we would never use in Belgium, even when we are very angry.” On the French government’s desire to renegotiate tax collection between the two governments, the gentlest possible No Way: “We’re ready to examine many things, as long as the superior principle of free circulation of people, goods and services within the EU is respected. But if this is about recognizing some French power to tax people who live in Belgium, that’s a whole other matter. Every European country must accept that its citizens decide to live elsewhere.”
A couple of things this article was in Maclean’s magazine written by top Canadian political commentator Paul Wells who said in another article he published today that he was a select attendee at Laureen Harper’s Christmas Party at 24 Sussex. So Wells is big in Canadian political circles. I made two comments one about the situation vis a vis the US and Canada the limited coverage in the Canadian media including Maclean’s and the fact that neither Belgium or Canada have the rejected the US’s self determined right to tax US citizens living in Belgium or Canada respectively. As I said Wells is big and close to PM Harper so comment early and often.