French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is leaving open the possibility of a new tax on corporate “super profits” after lawmakers rejected the move last month.
In an interview published in Le Parisien newspaper, Borne said she’d prefer alternatives to a windfall levy, such as companies lowering prices for consumers and giving bonuses to employees to bolster their spending power.
But she noted that while the government’s policy has been to lower corporate taxes, the public would have a hard time understanding how firms can make huge gains while ordinary people fret about making ends meet.
Her comments could help fuel fresh calls for an exceptional tax on energy producers such as TotalEnergies SE and Engie SA, as well as shipping giant CMA CGM SA. A proposed law was voted down last month by the National Assembly. While the government hadn’t backed such a move, it did garner some support among lawmakers from President Emmanuel Macron’s party.
Read more: French Lawmakers Reject Windfall Tax Profit in Close Vote
Germany is considering imposing a windfall tax on energy companies, with the proposal gaining momentum as the ruling coalition seeks to resolve a dispute over who should shoulder the burden of soaring gas costs. Spain last month unveiled plans for levies on banks and power companies to help fund the government’s response to a growing cost-of-living crisis.
In France, Borne said in the interview, “I’m not closing the door on taxing super profits.”
The government will be watchful that companies take advantage of a new law allowing them to give staff more tax-free bonuses, she said.
It’s also planning a new “green fund” of 1.5 billion euros ($1.5 billion) to help local governments with the environmental transition, she said, without saying where the money would come from.
Borne is scheduled to speak Monday at a conference organized by France’s main employers’ lobby Medef.
The prime minister also acknowledged the debate around calls for a ban or taxes on private jet flights, saying owners must lower emissions like everyone else.
Read more: Private Jets to Ibiza, Paris Surge as Rich Evade Travel Chaos