Tax on “superprofits”: parliamentary debate put to the test by lobbies?

Tax on “superprofits”: parliamentary debate put to the test by lobbies?

NUPES accuses the government of having yielded to TotalEnergies and CMA-CGM during the debates around the creation of a tax on “superprofits”. For the majority party, it was necessary to unblock the negotiations between the government and the companies, in order to lower the prices at the pump as quickly as possible.

The subject has been at the heart of French and European debates for several months: creating an exceptional tax on large companies that have made considerable profits over the past year, particularly in the energy sector, to support purchasing power and curb the price explosion.

The coalition of left-wing parties NUPES – which brings together the Socialist Party (PS), the ecologists (EELV), La France insoumise (LFI) and the Communist Party (PCF) – had made it a key argument in the campaign for the legislative elections.

It is therefore no surprise that the question arose during the debates on the “purchasing power” bill and the amending finance bill, which are raging in the National Assembly.

The core target of such a measure in France, among others: TotalEnergie, Engie, CMA-CGM and motorway concessionaires.

Support purchasing power as quickly as possible

We had reached a consensus within the Finance Committee said Philippe Brun, PS MP and member of the Finance Committee, to EURACTIV. The NUPES, like certain deputies of the majority Renaissance group, viewed the exceptional contribution with a positive eye, while Oliver Marleix, President of the parliamentary group Les Républicains (LR), affirmed last week that he ” wouldn’t be shocking to ask for an outstanding contribution to TotalEnergies.

The Rassemblement national (RN) also came out in favor of such a provision: “those who have made “superprofits” must be able to contribute to the measures implemented to support the purchasing power of the French “, has spear in the hemicycle the President of the RN group in the National Assembly, Marine Le Pen.

On the side of the majority group, it was above all necessary to go quickly to announce a drop in prices at the pump, by encouraging an immediate announcement on the part of the large groups. In order to advance negotiations between the government and businesses, an amendment was tabled by MP Renaissance! and member of the Finance Committee, Stella Dupont, from Monday 18 July. It established ” an exceptional contribution to the profits of oil and gas companies, as well as shipping companies […] which achieve a turnover of more than 1 billion euros » up to 15% of the company’s taxable income.

The negociation [entre le gouvernement et les grands groupes] progressing insufficiently from my point of view. I therefore tabled an exceptional taxation amendment for the examination in session which contributed to unblocking the negotiations in progress. explains Ms. Dupont to EURACTIV.

And to add: Without progress, I would have maintained this amendment which would have had a good chance of being adopted”.

A “state scandal” for the opposition

And that is exactly what happened: an agreement was reached between the government and TotalEnergies for the company to reduce prices at the pump by 20 cents from September 1 to November 1, then by 10 cents until the end of the year 2022.

We prefer to make an immediate and direct contribution for our customers, rather than an indirect tax that would penalize our refineries underlines Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies in a press release.

The CMA-CGM also recorded a reduction in freight rates of 750 euros per 40-foot container.

In response to these announcements, the consensus amendment was withdrawn by Ms. Dupont even before being opened for debate.

It’s a state scandal says Mr. Brun in the hemicycle. ” We all agreed but it did not succeed, following corridor negotiations at Bercy he told EURACTIV.

As proof of this, he points to the amendments of the NUPES, tabled in anticipation of a withdrawal of that of the majority (“ We expected it”underlines Mr. Brun), narrowly rejected with 114 votes against, 96 for.

Sacha Houlié, MP for the majority and President of the Law Commission, as well as three other MPs for the majority, abstained.

If TotalEnergies and CMA-CGM agree to make a move until the end of the year, the same is not true of the other oil companies and companies ” crisis profiteers “. Moreover, the distribution of TotalEnergies petrol stations is uneven across the territory, as evidenced by the company’s interactive map – a large majority are located near urban centers, while the east of France has few stations. .

Same position at the RN, where the deputy of the Somme and member of the Finance Committee, Jean-Philippe Tanguy, underlines the “ indecent number between lobbying and the defense of macronie ”which, for him, “may be the same thing”.

Ms. Dupont, for her part, claims to be consistent: “ implementing a new tax takes time, while lower prices at the pump can be seen immediately among all French people “.

For the sake of vigilance, the MP announces the establishment of an information mission on the supervision of superprofits from the start of the school year. ” If we are not satisfied, I will be ready to intervene again in the fall. It’s a matter of fair value sharing “, she underlines.

Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain have already announced the creation of a temporary tax on superprofits – enough to enrage French parliamentarians.


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