The vote was won by 170 votes against 57 – mainly from the left – during the first reading of the amending finance bill for 2022.

Amendments from the majority and LR were adopted to allocate to public broadcasting “a fraction” of VAT, for an amount of around 3.7 billion euros, in order to respond to concerns about its funding.

During this often agitated session, the Minister in charge of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal expressed his attachment to “a strong public audiovisual sector”, while qualifying the current fee as an “obsolete tool”.

“We assume to remove taxes that weigh on the French,” he continued.

The main objections came from the ranks of the leftist alliance Nupes, where many speakers notably highlighted the risks for the independence of the public service.

For Inaki Echeniz (PS), this deletion is a “bad idea”, while Alexis Corbière (LFI) stressed that guaranteeing “the independence of public broadcasting is a condition of democracy”.

The RN, for its part, called for going further than the abolition of the fee, by privatizing public broadcasting. “A great democracy like ours no longer needs a public service,” said Caroline Parmentier.

Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak argued that “it is not the license fee that guarantees independence” but Arcom (ex-CSA), the body that appoints the directors of public broadcasting companies .