• France edition
 
Corsica wants crackdown on holiday home market
A holiday home in Corsica is destroyed in a 2009 bomb attack, believed to have been carried out by separatists. Photo: Stefan Agostini/AFP

Corsica wants crackdown on holiday home market

Published: 08 Aug 2013 14:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Aug 2013 14:44 GMT+02:00

The issue of holiday homes on the Mediterranean island of Corsica has always been an explosive issue.

Over recent years second homes owned by wealthy Parisians and others have been targeted in a bombing campaign waged by nationalists and environmentalists protesting against the influx of property speculators.

And this week Paul Giacobbi, head of Corsica’s Executive Council, planted an incendiary device of a different kind by proposing to put limits on anyone from outside Corsica who wants to buy a house on the so-called “Island of Beauty”.

“If you can buy property as easy as chocolate on a supermarket shelf, we are headed for disaster,” Giacobbi said.

Giacobbi argues that property speculators from Paris and beyond, desperate to get their hands on land or a home on the picturesque island has skewed the property market and inflated prices that are now out of reach for ordinary Corsicans.

"I am not against foreigners"

Giacobi told The Local on Thursday it was time to take action.

“We have been studying this issue for three years. What we have found out is that half the new houses built in Corsica are second homes which is causing a real problem.

“It’s time we had some kind of regulation and asking people to live here for a certain amount of time before they are allowed to buy a property is a good way to do it and a very good way of ending property speculation in Corsica.

Giacobbi, who gave recent interview to The Local about threats made against his life, also proposed making certain parts of the island out-of-bounds for non-residents.

“We have to have a balance or you will only have very rich people who can buy homes in Corsica. I am not against rich people but it is dangerous and very unfair if local people cannot afford to buy a roof over their heads.

The leader of the Executive Council rejected that his proposal stemmed from any motives of Corsican nationalism aimed solely at antogising mainland France.

“I am not against foreigners. My family and wife come from abraod. Corsica is a land that welcomes foreigners," he said.

"People from France could come and buy land, if they want to settle here, the problem is if they want to buy land or a property just to be here for one month each year and then put our property market in great trouble.

One story for Paris another for Corsica

Giacobi did however accuse the Paris based media of double standards in the way the reaction differs when wealthy foreigners buy property in the French capital.

“When a rich foreigner, from Qatar for example buys a historic property in Paris, it’s a national drama and people claim it needs to be halted by the law, but they never say the same for Corsica," he said.

“When the heritage of this island is up for sale and someone comes in from abroad and buys 3,000 hectares, they say well Corsica is an open market,” Giacobbi adds.

Giacobbi accepts that not everyone on the island will be pleased to hear his plans because many locals are only too happy to sell their properties to foreigners at inflated prices.

The politician accepts he expects plenty of opposition to his idea, not least from lawmakers in Paris and Brussels but he has vowed to take it forward.

“After three years studying this is issue, we can see that it really is necessary and we will discuss it with the relevant French and European authorities,” he said. “I don’t think this regulation will be against the free movement of people throughout Europe.

As expected his proposal has already been met with firm resistance.

Marie-Dominique Roustan-Lanfranchi, from the association Corse-France said: "We must stop thinking that Corsica is alone in the world.  

"Why should we always be treated differently from other regions? This is an unconstitutional project contrary to the law of property, which violates equality of all before the law." 

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
QUIZ: Find out how French you've become
So how French do you think you are? Photo: Frenchman: Shutterstock

QUIZ: Find out how French you've become

It's impossible to be an expat in France without turning a little bit French. Take our quiz and find out where you land on the Frenchiness scale. READ  

French try to make surly shopkeepers kinder
Tired of bad customer service in France? Photo: Smiling worker: Shutterstock

French try to make surly shopkeepers kinder

Many Anglos have a dim view of customer service in France, but the French aren't happy either with how some shopkeepers treat them. Now a growing programme is labeling shopkeepers who you can expect to be friendly. READ  

Broadcasts cut as fire ravages French radio HQ
A massive fire cut broadcasting for many of France's public radio stations. Photo: France Bleu

Broadcasts cut as fire ravages French radio HQ

A massive fire ripped through the Paris building that houses studios for some of France's public radio stations, prompted broadcasts to be abruptly cut off. It's unclear what sparked the blaze. READ  

Metro and Train strike set for Tuesday in France
A train and metro strike is set for Tuesday in France. Photo: AFP

Metro and Train strike set for Tuesday in France

Commuters should brace themselves for travel chaos next week, with a train and Metro strike set for Tuesday, according to AFP. But it's not clear yet how big of an industrial action it's going to be. READ  

France tries to collect €10k from fatherless girl
The teenager was told last week that she must pay back €10,000 in just 15 days. Euros: Shutterstock

France tries to collect €10k from fatherless girl

A 13-year-old girl in western France has been told she must pay back the €10,000 that was given to her by the state after her sailor father was killed in an accident. READ  

National Front pulls in 'record membership'
The National Front party has a total of 83,000 members – the highest number in the history of the party. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

National Front pulls in 'record membership'

After a year of unprecedented electoral success, Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant, anti-EU National Front party is attracting more members than ever before in the 42-year-old party’s history, French media has reported. READ  

Merah-inspired jihadists 'plot attacks in France'
Both men had been motivated by the actions of Mohamed Merah, a French-Algerian national killed by French police in March 2012 after murdering seven people. Photo: AFP

Merah-inspired jihadists 'plot attacks in France'

Morocco said on Thursday it has arrested two jihadists inspired by French terrorist Mohamed Merah who were planning to attack banks and multinational companies in France and in the North African country. READ  

Halloween in France
Paris Catacombs still draw thousands
A file picture shows skulls and bones stacked at the Catacombs of Paris. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP

Paris Catacombs still draw thousands

A place of fear, legend, inspiration and exploration, Paris's skull and bone-lined Catacombs still draw thousands of visitors each year, many of whom queue for hours to explore the ghoulish burial site. READ  

French to try out high-speed Ebola test
The trial will include a prototype device unveiled last week, similar to a home pregnancy test, that may make diagnosis possible in under 15 minutes. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

French to try out high-speed Ebola test

French researchers will conduct trials with prototype Ebola diagnostic tests in Guinea in November, with results expected within weeks for speedy deployment, the head of France's Ebola task force said on Thursday. READ  

Far-right mag's racial slur on minister nets fine
A racist magazine cover has resulted in a fine for a French publication. Photo: AFP

Far-right mag's racial slur on minister nets fine

A far-right publication that compared France's justice minister, who is black, to a monkey was hit on Thursday with a €10,000 fine for making racist statements. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
National
Eight Halloween events not to miss in Paris
National
10 things to never say to a French person
National
Top 10: When French translations go wrong
National
Parisian bars that serve drinkers free meals
National
France falls to Germans in nude swim tourney
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Nowhere combines sex and art quite like France
National
Why you should never turn down an invitation to a French wedding
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se