France considers lower electricity tax to stabilise household power prices

After the worst rioting in Paris in decades last weekend, many shops and restaurants in the center of the capital are expected to shut down Saturday, fearing a repeat of the violence. (File/AP/Michel Euler)
Updated 06 December 2018
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France considers lower electricity tax to stabilise household power prices

  • French government said that it would prevent state-controlled utility EDF’s regulated power prices from rising this winter
  • Many shops and restaurants in the center of the capital are expected to shut down on Saturday

PARIS: The French government is considering lowering taxes on electricity in order to stabilise household power bills, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday.

The government had said this week that it would prevent state-controlled utility EDF’s regulated power prices from rising this winter, but the firm’s competitors immediately said they would challenge that decision in court. Earlier government attempts at freezing prices have been overruled.

Household power prices are set by independent energy regulator CRE in a complex formula that includes the price of power generation, transport and distribution. A third part of the retail price is made up of taxes.

“What is being discussed is that the share of taxes in the power price could be reduced in order to compensate for an increase in the generation cost, which on balance would keep prices stable,” said one of the two sources.

Meanwhile, Paris police and store owners are bracing themselves for new violence at protests Saturday, despite President Emmanuel Macron’s surrender over a fuel tax hike that unleashed weeks of unrest.
Police, unions, and local authorities are holding emergency meetings Thursday to strategize — while disparate groups of protesters are sharing plans on social networks and chat groups.
After the worst rioting in Paris in decades last weekend, many shops and restaurants in the center of the capital are expected to shut down Saturday, fearing a repeat of the violence.
Macron on Wednesday agreed to abandon the fuel tax hike, but protesters’ demands have now expanded to other issues.
Protesting students are disrupting schools and universities Thursday, and drivers are still blocking roads around France, now demanding broader tax cuts and government aid.

(With Reuters, AP)


Head of Qatari opposition to launch community debate center in London

Updated 29 min 53 sec ago
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Head of Qatari opposition to launch community debate center in London

​LONDON: Khalid Al-Hail, spokesperson of the Qatari Opposition Movement, announced on Sunday the launch of his Majlis (Arab-styled Community Debate Center) in London, with the inauguration ceremony expected later this month.
​“I believe it is a great idea to launch this Majlis; where people can informally meet within an intellectually-inspiring and friendly atmosphere, to discuss, debate and exchange views and ideas on various political, strategic, and social issues.” said Al-Hail.
​“What’s more, I believe this initiative will be paramount in bringing together the British and Arabs residing in this country together, and help foster relations and accomplish a better mutual understanding, and strengthen the values of peaceful co-existence and tolerance.” Al-Hail added.

​“We also aim to enlighten the Qatari case, and introduce the views, values, and endeavours of the Qatari Opposition, in addition to creating a platform for constructive networking between Qataris and Arabs on the one side, and British experts and public opinion makers,” Al-Hail said.
​He also said “to achieve those goals, we will carry out various daily activities with live coverage, including speeches delivered by experts followed by Q&A sessions, presentations, documentaries, and round-table discussions.”
The Qatari Opposition Movement is a political movement striving for a peaceful change of the Qatari regime, and for a constitutional monarchy that embraces the time-honored values of the Qatari people, establishes a rule of law and institutions, and democracy in the country.