The deputies must adopt, perhaps Thursday evening, the “emergency” bill for purchasing power, before moving on to the amending budget for 2022 (PLFR), which provides funding and completes the arsenal in the face of inflation.
The National Assembly has already planned to sit on Saturday. Because the debates drag on, with the mobilization of LFI deputies against most of the measures, apart from the revaluation of pensions or social minima, for which they abstained.
Rare moment of harmony on Wednesday evening, the Assembly voted almost unanimously to deconjugate the disabled adult allowance (AAH), a method of calculation that does not take into account the spouse’s income. Oppositions and associations had encountered refusal from the executive throughout the previous five-year term, but Emmanuel Macron had promised to “move” on the subject during the presidential campaign.
On the program of the debates now, several articles on the “energy sovereignty” of France, against a backdrop of war in Ukraine and fear of closing the Russian gas tap.
After ten days of maintenance, Russia reopened the Nord Stream gas pipeline on Thursday, but Moscow is keeping its hands on this weapon on which the European Union’s energy security depends this winter.
The purchasing power bill includes several measures to try to cope, through increased use of fossil fuels, which is strangling deputies and environmental NGOs.
Article 16 provides a legal framework for restarting the Saint-Avold (Moselle) coal-fired power station next winter, which was closed in March. It makes it possible to raise the ceilings for greenhouse gas emissions, in the event of a “threat to the security of electricity supply” and on the condition of offsetting the emissions.
Justified by the forced shutdown of part of the nuclear fleet, the use of the most polluting fuel makes cough up to the right, the leader of the deputies LR Olivier Marleix seeing it as an “absurdity”.
– “Crisis profiteers” –
“We are in a race against time to secure our energy supplies for next winter”, justified the Minister for Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
Another divisive subject is the commissioning in September 2023 of a floating LNG terminal in the port of Le Havre, in order to diversify gas supply sources.
On the left, several deputies see it above all as a means of importing American shale gas, a fuel whose exploitation was banned in France in 2017 and whose extraction pollutes the waters. For now, the government has not clearly said that the terminal would transport shale gas.
A socialist amendment adopted in committee posed a safeguard: the duration of operation of this terminal was limited to five years and any renewal will have to pass “by law”.
The overall votes on this first part of the purchasing power package will be scrutinized closely, particularly within the Nupes coalition (LFI, socialists, ecologists, communists). The group of Insoumis has already warned that it would vote against, but the PS could abstain and the ecologists leave the suspense.
Electric debates are then expected on the rectified draft budget, with high stakes. For example on the abolition of the audiovisual license fee, contested by the left. To reassure the channels, the Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal said he was ready to allocate a tax dedicated to audiovisual, with a “fraction” of VAT.
The pressure will mount about the taxation of the “superprofits” of large groups, oil, gas or transport companies, an idea pushed by the left, elected RN and even LR or certain voices at LREM. Left-wing macronists like Sacha Houlié say they are ready to “make crisis profiteers pay”.
As for the price of gasoline, an agreement seems to be emerging between Macronists and LR to extend until the end of the year, while increasing it, the discount of 18 cents on the liter of fuel.