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How Much Do French Politicians Earn?

Tuesday 08 April 2014

There are four levels of government in France each with a flotilla of politicians, most of whom pick up a monthly cheque.

Despite the reputation that France carries as one of the most centralised democracies in the world, it has three tiers of local government - communes, departments and regions.

Indeed, with the emergence in recent years of inter-communal bodies, in many areas of rural France there are now four levels of local government. There are also 'cantons', but these areas now merely serve as constituencies for elections to the departmental councils.

So just what do the politicians in these echelons of government earn? There follows a quick summary below, which excludes consideration of pensions and loss of office payments to which many are entitled.

Communes

There are nearly 37,000 communes, the lowest tier of government in France. Some are large towns, whilst others have fewer than 10 habitants, and around 1000 with fewer than 50, but all with their own mayor.

The level of remuneration of the mayor is determined primarily by the size of the population.

At the bottom end, in a parish with less than 500 habitants the maximum remuneration is €7,775 pa. It rises to €14,141 pa for a population of up to 1000 and €19, 615 pa for a population of up to 3,499.

Beyond the small villages, the salaries start to rise very substantially, starting at €25,089 pa for the smallest towns, up to €66,145 pa in the largest towns.

In the cities the level of remuneration rises to above €100,000 pa depending on the size of the city.

Deputies in the communes are also on the payroll and earn around half that of the mayors.

As for the general body of elected representatives, that is a matter for local determination, subject to a national formula, but in most cases is not significant.

Inter-Communal

With the increasing realisation that small parishes are no longer viable political entities, new inter-communal groupings have emerged, and which, since January 2014, have been made obligatory by the government and now cover most areas of the country.

Although they assume some of their powers and responsibilities these new bodies do not replace the communes. The pattern of these inter-communal arrangements are also very varied, and frequently overlapping.

The salary of the 'Président' of the principal inter-communal bodies will vary according to the population, from around €6,000 pa at the bottom end up to 66,145 pa in the largest urban conglomerations.

Their deputies also receive a salary of around half that of the Président, and in larger inter-communal bodies, the elected representatives also receive a small monthly remuneration.

Departments

In the 101 departments (96 in mainland France) each elected representative (Conseiller général) receives a monthly salary, which varies between €1,524 to €2,661 per month, depending on the size of the population.

The Président of the conseil général receives a salary of €66,145 pa, whatever the size of the department. They may also receive accommodation and use of an official car.

Their deputies also receive a modest salary of up to €3,725 pa.

Regions

In the 27 regions (22 in mainland France) each Conseiller régional receives between €1,521 and €2,927.

The Président of a conseil régional receives a salary of €66,145, whatever the size of the department. They may also receive accommodation and use of an official car.

Their deputies also receive a salary of up to €3,725 pa.

National Politicians

At the national level there is a very comfortable existence for politicians, who all received a substantial monthly salary, with an attractive range of fringe benefits.

In the Lower House the Députés earn €12, 870 a month, to which must be added €9,504 a month for office support, together with free first class rail travel.

In the Upper House, the Sénateurs take home €13,340 a month, to which is added €7,548 for office support, and free first class rail travel.

The salaries of Ministers were reduced by 30% when President Hollande came to power, but they still manage to take home around €12,697 a month, together with official accommodation and transport.

As for the Prime Minister and the President their basic salary is around €15,000 per month, but with other trappings of office that a minor Prince would envy.

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