Buried in December, resurrected in February? Triggering the crisis of yellow vests, the unpopular "carbon tax" – its real name "contribution climate energy" – still moves. "It's like the horse: when you fall, you have to go right back, otherwise you'll be afraid of it all your life," justifies a ministerial source. At the risk of blowing on the embers of the movement?
In recent days, three members of the government and dozens of MPs trying to put back on track a French environmental tax, frozen by the executive in December under the pressure of yellow vests. In a forum published Wednesday in Le Figaro, 86 parliamentarians from the ranks LREM, Modem, PS and centrist push for «A new contract […] around this tax ", way "Effective […] promote virtuous behavior ". "We do not open the return of the carbon tax as before. Our forum should not provoke controversy ", explains one of the main initiators, the deputy Matthieu Orphelin.
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For this close to Nicolas Hulot who has just left the group LREM, it is a question of inciting the "actors [à] seize the subject to invent another ecological tax " : "You have to go out and find alternatives, redistribute. It could be VAT cuts on public transport, energy renovation to one euro, one-third to half of households. " The signatories also plead to widen the range of possibilities in order to engage the ecological transition: "Strengthening and simplification of aid" or "New occupational sectors covered by carbon taxation", like that of aviation. "This site, it must be opened on new bases," abounds Dominique Potier (PS).
As early as Tuesday, the Minister of Ecological Transition, François de Rugy, ruled that this was "The moment when never to debate", recalling that "3 cents up on gasoline and fuel is 2 billion euros" of recipes. Before him, his secretaries of state Brune Poirson and Emmanuelle Wargon, as well as the general delegate of the presidential party, Stanislas Guérini, had already judged plausible a restart, under conditions, of the French "carbon trajectory". No way this "To the detriment of the popular classes", insisted Guerini. As for the product of the tax, it should be dedicated "100% ecological transition and aid for those who need it the most", judged Rugy. "It's a good tax tool, but you have to rebuild it and explain it, defends the member LREM Bénédicte Peyrol. You have to be transparent about the use of the recipes. "
Contributions received without excessive excitement by Emmanuel Macron: "The President pointed out that we had entered this moment, November 17, following a rise in taxation and it is probably not by a rise in taxation that we will respond to the anger that was expressed " Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said on Wednesday. But the decision is postponed at the end of the great national debate.
Adopted under François Hollande and reinforced by the current executive, the carbon trajectory was to see increase every year the amount of fuel taxes. In January, they should have grown by 2.9 cents per liter of gasoline and 6.5 cents for diesel. In the fall, the prospect of this rise as prices at the pump climbed due to a global increase in crude prices put yellow jackets in the street. "No tax can question the national unity", finally decided the Prime Minister in December, after swearing that the government would not back down. Certainly, Philippe never excluded his return but, he agreed in January, difficult to "See the hypothesis" which would properly revive this topic.
"I really do not understand why it comes out, a minister is surprised. This seems to me an even more risky debate than the reform of the public service. " "It's powder" explosive, we also recognize in the entourage of Philippe, while making mine, at the time of the great debate, to encourage "Ministers who have strong ideas to defend them publicly" . "What we accept from the French, we can not ban the ministers, it is estimated to Matignon. We let the roses bloom. If the carbon tax is not defended, its supporters will not regret that it is forgotten.
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Nor can the government give the impression of stalling on green taxation at a time when civil society is mobilizing against global warming. A group of Paris students calls on youth to demonstrate Friday in Paris, before a national reply on March 15. "The Case of the Century," a petition supporting the NGO's initiative to attack the state in court for climate inaction, has collected more than 2 million signatures. Its representatives will be received this Thursday by Philippe and Rugy. Those of the "Manifesto for an ecological awakening", grouping students who are committed to choosing an employer according to his environmental commitment, will soon be received by Poirson. "The people of Bercy find it foolish to restart the debate, reports a ministerial source. But we face a petition with 2 million signatures and a possible national movement. " Exactly what had pushed the government to back against the yellow vests.