• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Frenchman flips out over reclined seat on US flight
A Frenchman freaked out on a US plane over a reclined seat and is in big trouble. Photo: Doug/Flickr

Frenchman flips out over reclined seat on US flight

A Parisian man faces jail after losing his cool on a France-bound flight from the US over a passenger who reclined his seat just a bit too far. His outburst comes on the heels of the now infamous “Knee Defender” melee aboard another American plane. READ  

French police in race to find sick British boy
Ashya King, who police in France are desperately trying to track down. Photo: YouTube/Naveed King

French police in race to find sick British boy

Police in France and Britain faced a race against time on Friday in their hunt to find a five-year-old boy with a brain tumour who officials in France believe was "kidnapped" from a UK hospital by his family. READ  

French women's safety fears 'due to inequality'
A third of French women say they afraid to walk in their neighbourhood. Photo: Takato Marul/Flickr

French women's safety fears 'due to inequality'

Recent studies suggest women in France do not feel safe walking the streets of their neighbourhoods and many are afraid walking around Paris at night. Some argue that gender inequality in the country is partly to blame. READ  

Feature - Wingsuit flying
Thrill-seekers risking life and limb in French Alps
Wingsuit flying has taken off in France despite dangers. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP

Thrill-seekers risking life and limb in French Alps

A mountain in the French Alps has become a hot spot for the high-risk and often deadly extreme sport of wingsuit flying. And the seemingly hairbrained alpine activity where "there is no margin for error" attracts a lot of "dangerous egos". READ  

British killer escapes from hospital in France
French police have launched a manhunt for an escaped British killer. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

British killer escapes from hospital in France

A mentally ill British man is on the run in France after escaping from a psychiatric hospital, where he was forcibly committed after beating a man to death with a four-kilo weight. READ  

Does France really suffer from a brain drain?
France may not be suffering from a brain drain after all, but it's not as attractive as the UK or Germany. Photo: Leaving.

Does France really suffer from a brain drain?

The latest European Union figures cast a bit of doubt on worries the moribund French economy is prompting a mass brain drain. However the stats do suggest France is far less attractive than the UK and Germany when it comes to certain professions. READ  

French cities struggle with bedbug infestations
Bed bugs are biting in France. Photo: Shutterstock

French cities struggle with bedbug infestations

The infestation of French cities by bed bugs is worse than ever before with hygiene services overwhelmed, according to reports. READ  

IMF board to review Lagarde's legal problems
IMF chief Christine Lagarde's situation is to be reviewed after she was placed under investigation. Photo: AFP

IMF board to review Lagarde's legal problems

International Monetary Fund board members will meet "as soon as possible" to review the situation of their chief Christine Lagarde, who was placed under formal investigation in Paris this week for alleged "negligence". READ  

Champions League
PSG drawn in same group as Barcelona
Photo: AFP

PSG drawn in same group as Barcelona

PSG were paired with Barcelona in Group F of the Champions League when the draw for the group stages was made on Thursday. France's other representative Monaco were handed a much easier draw, at least on paper. READ  

Guest blog - France Profonde
France profonde: Rural idyll or backwater hell?
Life in Rural France: Is it heaven or hell or just what you make of it? Photo: Shutterstock

France profonde: Rural idyll or backwater hell?

Does life in rural France offer the peace and quiet that you've always dreamed about or is it a quick route to loneliness and isolation? Annecy-based writer Amaryllis Barton takes a closer look. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
International
VIDEO: Watch the top five street scams to avoid in Paris
Politics
Take a look at the bulging to-do list that awaits France's new government
Politics
Six questions for France after Hollande ousts rebels
International
Choosing schools in France: Do you go international or French?
Gallery
From kissing to bad-mouthing: Ten ways expats in France drive you mad
Culture
Ten things you need to know about the Liberation of Paris:
Travel
Watch this impressive time lapse video and you'll want to move to Paris
National
Veiled Muslim woman on a French beach prompts politician's angry rant
Travel
Forget Paris and Provence where are the least touristy areas of France?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The battle to liberate Paris from the Nazis
National
What France means to you in just one tweet
National
15 French 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
12 reasons to invest in Paris and seven not to
National
French hamlet 'Death to Jews' mulls name change
National
French tourist caught in Pompeii brothel romp
International
'Forget the Anglo-media's image of France, the reality is much different'
Culture
VIDEO: Francophile Robin Williams enjoyed poking fun at the French
Travel
Six reasons why France is the world's top tourist destination
International
Remembering the 'forgotten campaign' in the liberation of France
Gallery
VIDEO: French bucket list - The 12 best things to do in France
International
Do three French cities deserve to be in top 10 "World 's Most Unfriendly"?
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