No truce in the debate on “superprofits”. While Jean-Luc Mélenchon made it a major issue for the start of the school year on Saturday in Lille and Germany promised this Sunday to support European efforts to impose a compulsory contribution from energy companies, Paris hammered home Sunday that it does not was “absolutely not” a tax.
A few days before a meeting of the 27 Member States around energy issues, there is no question of lending the flank to the left, which has been proposing for months an exceptional taxation of the profits made by large groups like TotalEnergies or CMA CGM.
“The German government has absolutely not announced a tax on the superprofits of energy companies,” insisted Bercy in a message sent to journalists a few hours after Berlin’s announcement of its support for a contribution from energy companies, to be refined at the level European.
This contribution targets “companies that benefit from the price of gas while they produce electricity from coal, nuclear or renewable energies”, we say in Paris.
“This is exactly what France is doing (…) The mechanisms are not necessarily the same, but the logic is (…) and it has nothing to do with taxation”, tried to demine the Ministry.
Record inflation in Germany
A reaction came a few hours after the presentation by Germany of a plan of 65 billion euros intended to mitigate the effects of inflation.
The rise in prices in Germany reached 7.9% year on year in August, fueled by energy prices which have soared since Russia, an essential supplier for Berlin, reduced gas flows to Germany. ‘Europe.
In this context, the German government announced on Sunday morning that it would plead for the introduction, at European level, of a compulsory contribution to be paid by companies in the energy sector. The measure is “not tax law”, hammered the Minister of Finance, the liberal Christian Lindner.
In mid-July, Spain had already announced a tax on the extraordinary profits of large energy and financial companies. Previously, Italy and the United Kingdom had introduced a tax on the profits of oil and gas giants.
Thierry Breton points to “artificial increases”
Invited at the end of the afternoon on LCI, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, showed himself in favor of “the use of exceptional resources, and in particular pensions” to “limit the impact of inflation both on individuals than on companies”. But he insisted on the importance of limiting the scope of this contribution to “artificial increases that certain energy players have been able to achieve”.
“In France, I have the impression that we have extended (the idea of taxing “superprofits”) to the entire economic sector, it seems to me a bit risky or even risky”, argued the commissioner. If the European discussions do not succeed, Berlin says it is ready to go it alone by adopting a measure at the national level.
In France, the idea of taxing the superprofits of multinationals is firmly opposed by the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire, while Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne does not “close the door” as a last resort.
Electricity prices: a possible increase of 10 to 20% in France
Before Bercy communicated, MEP Manon Aubry (La France insoumise) rejoiced on Twitter that it was “Germany’s turn to tax superprofits”.
Maybe you can give them a call so as not to remain the only “refractory Gauls” as Macron would say? https://t.co/vsZNrVUskX
— Manon Aubry (@ManonAubryFr) September 4, 2022
“Still wrong!” Retorted Bruno Le Maire on the social network. “Germany has decided to set up a compulsory contribution from energy companies, which already exists in France and which brings in several billion euros”.
Still wrong! Germany has decided to set up a compulsory contribution from energy companies, which already exists in France and which brings in several billion euros. @c_lindner confirmed that there would be no new taxes in the new German aid package. https://t.co/zdtepgUgdS pic.twitter.com/QPmJCJlNyh
— Bruno Le Maire (@BrunoLeMaire) September 4, 2022
Bercy must present its draft budget for 2023 in the coming days, which will detail the government’s strategy to fight against inflation, in particular energy.
While the tariff shield on gas prices is supposed to expire on December 31, 2022, the Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal assured France Inter on Saturday that a “shield system” would be maintained in 2023.
However, the percentage increase in energy prices remains to be defined. Gabriel Attal said in an interview with Le Parisien on Saturday that an increase of 10 to 20% was a “possibility”.