Barely relaunched, the debate on the carbon tax was immediately reframed Wednesday February 13 by Emmanuel Macron, for whom a “tax increase” is not the response to the “anger” expressed by the “yellow vests” movement . “The president underlined that we entered this moment, last November 17, following an increase in taxation and it is undoubtedly not by an increase in taxation that we will respond to the anger that has arisen. expressed, “said government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux on leaving the Council of Ministers.
“The President of the Republic reminded us: his conviction is that we will not get out of a crisis that began with an additional tax, by creating a new one,” insisted Mr. Griveaux, according to which the question raised by the great debate is more that of “supporting” the French in the ecological transition than the increase in taxes.
Accused of having ignited the powder last fall, the carbon tax had been sacrificed on the altar of “yellow vests”. But since the beginning of the week, the advocates of this “effective tool”, ministers or deputies, have regained their voice, even if they are well aware that they are walking on eggshells.
“Ask yourself the question of the tax system you want”
Brune Poirson, Secretary of State for Ecological Transition, lit the fuse on Sunday by defending a “tool in favor of ecological transition, which has a real impact because it sends a price signal that allows people to change their behavior “. The next day, she received the support of her colleague Emmanuelle Wargon, one of the two facilitators of the great debate, and of the boss of La République en Marche, Stanislas Guerini, who invited to debate it.
The increase in the carbon tax, planned for 2014, was suspended and then canceled for 2019, but the government remained unclear for 2020 and beyond, referring to the great debate. “Today I do not see any hypothesis in which we can easily leave with an increase in this tax, that is clear. But we must ask ourselves the question of the tax system we want”, had carefully explained Édouard Philippe at the end of January on France Inter.
But the defenders of the tax have the impression of benefiting from new buoyant winds, while a group of students from Ile-de-France calls to strike and demonstrate on Friday so that “an end to political inaction in the face of climate deregulation”.
At the initiative of deputy Matthieu Orphelin (ex-LREM), a close friend of Nicolas Hulot, a platform signed by 86 deputies pleads in Le Figaro on Wednesday for “a socially just carbon tax”. The representatives of five political groups signed this platform, but not the members of the Republicans, LFI or the National Rally.
But beware! “It is not the return of the carbon tax as it was envisaged and which was the drop of water or the spark that launched this mobilization of + yellow vests +”, warned on Franceinfo Mr. Orphelin , now a non-registered member, who does not want to “redo the error” of 2018. The platform would rather be according to him a call “to a global reflection (on) a more socially just ecological taxation”.
This call immediately received heavy reinforcements, accompanied however by precautions. “Resume the increase in the carbon tax? I am in favor of it under certain conditions. The Great Debate is an opportunity to discuss it”, reacted on Twitter the Minister of Ecological Transition François de Rugy.
“It must not be a cash cow tax, it must be a behavioral tax. It assumes that the revenues from this tax go entirely to those who need it most,” warned Brune Poirson on the Opinion site.
This return of the carbon tax has triggered an outcry from part of the opposition, on the left and on the right. “Those who signed did not really understand anything, neither did the government, the tax came back through the window when it had been ejected through the door, it is astounding”, expressed indignation in particular the deputy LR Éric Ciotti .