France has backed down from a plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions that had been central to its push for a more prominent role in the fight against climate change.This is huge news, particularly in the light of the reasons given,
The plan, launched by president Nichola Sarkozy with much fanfare last September, has been stalled since being ruled unconstitutional in December.
Mr Sarkozy's government had insisted a reworked tax would go into force by July.
Leading conservative Jean-Francois Cope said after meeting the prime minister that they agreed that any carbon tax "would be Europe-wide or not (exist) at all," instead of being a French-only tax.
Many within Mr Sarkozy's own conservative party said the opposite and it would disadvantage French companies compared to European rivals.Of course it shows the short sightedness of the EU's political leadership. France wants to be competitive inside the EU. Britain must be competitive outside the EU. Or as Godfrey Bloom MEP said,
Among the French, surveys show around two-thirds of people opposed the measure.
"Of course that is economic madness". said Bloom. France wants to make itself competitive in the EU, Britain must be competitive in the world".The Wall Street Journal at least notes the issue. And the FT has some more detail,
Sadly of course, he went on "in Britain the three establishment parties would prefer to sacrifice our economy on the altar of climate alarmism".
François Fillon, prime minister, told a meeting of centre-right parliamentarians
that France would not penalise its industry by introducing the tax unilaterally.
“All decisions taken on the issue of sustainable development must be analysed in the light of our competitiveness,” Mr Fillon told the deputies. “We want the decisions to be taken in common with other European countries otherwise we are going to see a growing shortfall in our competitiveness.”
The decision to ditch the tax divided the government. Chantal Jouanno, the junior minister for the environment, lashed out at the decision saying she “despaired of this retreat”.
Since an EU-wide carbon tax is unlikely to gain approval in months ahead, if at all – the Swedish government pushed the idea with little success during its EU presidency last year – the French levy has, in effect, been shelved.