Environment minister favours levy on profits from toll motorways to replace 500m euros lost from planned tax on heavy lorry traffic.
After 20 months in power, relations between French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault are showing cracks. Despite a public show of solidarity, in private the two men are at odds over the management of economic and social policies, and Ayrault’s future appears increasingly uncertain. Lénaïg Bredoux traces how the two men have begun drifting apart and hears the views from insiders close to both, one of whom insists: “François Hollande fired Ayrault in December, but no-one knows.”
Several thousand truckers blocked roads across France on Saturday in further protest against a new environmental tax on heavy goods vehicles.
The controversy surrounding the planned introduction in France of a new ‘eco-tax’ on lorries is fast-developing into a potentially vast political scandal over the conditions of a contract signed with a private company to operate and collect the levy. The tax scheme was initially devised by the previous, conservative-led government and former ministers are now under fire over the surprisingly generous terms of the agreement signed with Italian company Ecomouv’. Amid calls for the creation of a parliamentary commission of enquiry into the affair, a preliminary investigation was opened by the public prosecutor’s office on Wednesday to determine the legality of the tender competition. Martine Orange reports on the latest developments and the background to what has become a costly farce.