A new series of measures with direct consequences for the French portfolio. MEPs voted on the amendment to the finance law in the first reading on the night of Tuesday 26 July to Wednesday 27 July. This second part of the “Purchasing Power Package” completes the measures passed a few days earlier in the Purchasing Power Emergency Act. Here are the key measures passed ahead of the Senate review.
The end of the audiovisual license fee
MEPs voted to abolish the fee that finances public service broadcasting. Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promise, this measure was passed with majority, Republican and National Rally votes. On the other hand, it raised concern in the ranks of the Nupes, who voted unanimously against it.
During this often tumultuous session, Finance Minister Gabriel Attal expressed his solidarity “strong public service broadcaster”, in qualifying as“obsolete” This fee is based on owning a TV at the time of tablets and other smartphones. To the inaki Echaniz (PS), this deletion is a “bad idea” which will affect the stable financing. Alexis Corbière (LFI) underlined this guarantee “The independence of public service broadcasting is a condition of democracy”.
This was argued by Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak “It is not royalty that guarantees independence” but Arcom (ex-CSA), the body that appoints the heads of public service broadcasting. Majority and LR changes were accepted to influence “a faction” VAT of around €3.7 billion to respond to concerns about the financing of this sector.
Raising the upper limit for tax-free overtime
A measure passed by the National Assembly provides that up to €7,500 in overtime will be tax-free this year, compared to €5,000 previously. This measure only affects income for the year 2022. “We want work to be worthwhile and better paid”, reasoned the rapporteur of the text Mathieu Lefèvre (Renaissance).
MP LR Isabelle Valentin even suggested “Full tax exemption for overtime”, so no upper limit, but his amendment was rejected. Conversely, the Nupes MPs spoke out against the passage from 5,000 to 7,500 euros. “In our country there is an intensification of work (…) we must not use up the bodies of the employees!” said Green MEP Sophie Taillé-Polian.
Converting RTT to Salary
A change adopted by MEPs will also allow staff to pay for their unused RTT. Employees can thus convert these rest days into wages. This time the amendment was not tabled by the Renaissance group but by Les Républicains. The President’s majority endorsed the text as a symbol of the government’s stated promise “Compromise”. As for the tax exemption for overtime, a cap of 7,500 euros per year has been set for the monetization of RTT.
Compensation of 120 million euros for the departments
A surprise at the meeting. The deputies approved this measure to 120 million euros, which envisages that the state compensates the revaluation of the RSA to the departments, contrary to the government’s opinion. The amendment was accepted by MPs LR, RN, Nupes and… Horizons, but one member of the Presidential majority. This is the first time these allies have made their difference clear to the majority.
The fuel discount
On Saturday, the government reached a compromise with Les Républicains for the continuation of the fuel discount : The measure to be set by decree is increased from 18 to 30 Euro cents in September and October, then to 10 cents in November and December. The head of the LR deputies, Olivier Marleix, was satisfied with that “Positive engagement with the government”.
MEPs also voted to double the tax-free allowance companies can pay their employees to cover their fuel bills, raising the cap from 200 to 400 Euro.
Nationalization of EDF
As expected, MPs approved state funding for the 100% renationalization of EDF, a €9.7 billion move designed to get the power generation and distribution group out of its financial rut. MEPs accepted these loans for 2022 by 209 votes to 156.
In the plenary hall, Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire particularly emphasized the “Restart of the nuclear program in France”with six new EPR reactors. “Nuclear energy has suffered terribly in recent years from the abandonment of industry”he added in a rowdy atmosphere. Ecologists and LFI voted against and castigated it “all-nuclear”. They asked, like others, for a “Big debate before national representation on France’s energy future”. The RN was also against it.
The re-evaluation of the officials’ index point
The package of measures on purchasing power also provided for a 3.5% increase in the value of the index point for civil servants, which serves as the basis for their salaries. It was voted on as expected because the measure is consensus. However, this vote only confirms the funding of the reassessment of the index point, as the site Vie publique.fr explains. In fact, the thaw of 3.5% of the index point at the end of June was announced by the Minister for Public Service, Stanislas Guérini. The decree was published in the Official Journal on July 8, retroactive to July 1.
The continuation of the energy tariff shield
In addition, the amending budget provides for the continuation of the energy tariff shield introduced at the end of 2021. This tool will allow to limit the increase in electricity bills to 4% and freeze gas prices at the level of October 2021. It is expected to be extended until 2022. Bruno Le Maire further confirmed this “By the end of 2023 we will end the regulated tariffs [du gaz] to comply with European regulations”.
On Monday, MPs had already approved €230 million for home heating with fuel oil, against advice from the executive who favored him, €50 million in aid.