Assembly votes to repeal toll

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FranceAssembly votes to repeal toll

Deputies on Saturday accepted Emmanuel Macron’s promise to scrap audiovisual license fees as part of a boost to the purchasing power of the French.

The debate in the French National Assembly was heated.

The debate in the French National Assembly was heated.

AFP

The National Assembly on Saturday voted to repeal the audiovisual license fee and narrowly rejected a tax on the “super profits” of big groups, after difficulties in the majority and a rise in tension, pending debates on purchasing power on Monday.

After four days of heated debate on the bill to bolster purchasing power, lawmakers have been struggling since Friday with a revised draft budget, with a second set of measures aimed at countering the effects of inflation. At the end of Saturday evening, the LREM representatives were included in the minority: against their wishes, the legislature decided to allocate 120 million to the RSA paying sectors in 2022, fully compensated for the 4% increase. A state-planned benefit.

An amendment to this effect was adopted by a combination of favorable votes from the Left, RN, LRs and LRs, and it was the first time that the Horizons group’s representatives had allied with a majority.

“Little Psychodrama”

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire scolded “those who only have the words to restore public finances” and “those who engage in such public spending”. Reminders of the session’s rules and adjournments followed, while the Left cheered that “the presidential minority will not decide everything alone”.

After this “minor psychosis,” according to communist Nicolas Sanchus, Mr. Le Maire calmed things down by agreeing to a “work” with all political groups on future financial support for struggling communities. In this assembly, where the Macronists have only a relative majority, “the minister has acknowledged that it is not possible to go by force,” noted Eric Coughrell (LFI), chairman of the finance committee.

Although around 375 amendments are still on the menu, the review of this revised budget is not within reach overnight. A resumption of this first reading on Monday evening around 5:00 p.m.

The next point of the speech was deleted: Bruno Le Maire said he was in favor of increasing the discount on the liter of fuel from 18 to 30 cents, in a compromise with the representatives of the Republican Party who called to go “further”.

“In September and October the discount may increase to 18 to 30 euro cents, then to 10 in November and 10 in December,” he explained. TotalEnergies announced that “fuel will be available for €1.50 at some service stations in France”, with a 20 cent discount at the pump, secured by LR.

“Overdue” charge

In the morning, Emmanuel Macron’s promise to scrap the fees that fund public broadcasting was carried out without incident, despite raising many questions about the independence of the media involved. LR and RN voted in favour, the left-wing coalition Noobs unanimously voted against.

The majority and LR amendments were adopted to address concerns about the financing of the sector, affecting “a portion” of VAT for around €3.7 billion. Public Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal expressed his commitment to “stronger public broadcasting”, describing the charge as “outdated” based on having a television while on tablets and other smartphones. In mainland France the fee is set at €138 per year.

Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak argued that “it is not the license fee that guarantees independence”, but RCom (formerly CSA), which appoints public broadcaster heads. The left has accused the government of taking inspiration from the far-right and eventually eliminating public broadcasting. “Zemmour and Mrs. Le Pen had asked for it, Mr. Macron would have done it”, introduced Stéphane Peu (PCF).

However, the head of the RN Group felt that “the government’s plan has nothing to do with what we want to do”, meaning that “privatisation” is in good and proper shape. The presidential camp often has to seek fragmented support in the face of sometimes concerted attacks by opposition parties.

“Ideological Significance”

The support of the LR, it was hoped that the draft budget would be adopted without counting the votes of the RN, was implemented by the rejection of the tax on “excessive profits” with 18 votes. Four majorities abstained, including Sacha Hooley and Carolyn Janvier, who supported the principle of the tax. One of their colleagues from Horizons voted for it.

The economy minister meanwhile criticized the principle of the tax – of “ideological significance”, according to him. The left coalition Nubs condemned this refusal, citing the cases of Spain, Great Britain or Italy, which adopted exceptional taxes on “excessive profits”.

(AFP)

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