The government is not only making friends by proposing to tax the highways more in 2024. The concessionaires of the latter have indeed been stepping up to the plate for a few days. Evidenced in particular by Pierre Coppey, boss of Vinci Autoroutes. The latter almost even threatens the state.
Questioned by Les Echos on this subject, he indeed dropped a sentence heavy with meaning: “we are ready to go to litigation”. Words that warn that concessionary companies will not let it go. They are similar to those released recently at Parisian : “the State cannot take back through taxation the compensation for investments that it has itself included in the texts”.
Same story with Eiffage, which will “everything to enforce the law”. Last month, the boss of APPR-Area Philippe Nourry was already threatening to sue the government “in the event of the introduction of a surcharge”. “The State cannot increase taxes specific to our sector without compensation”he had warned the Figaro journalists.
Motorway concessionaires worried about their contracts?
The dealers recall that the contracts signed with the government are their only assets. This allows them to get into debt and respecting them is crucial. Dealers are all the more surprised at the role played by the Council of State. The latter is judge and adviser to the government, in order to set this tax in motion.
Finally, in 2015, Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of the Economy, had committed the government “on the stability of the specific tax framework for motorway companies.” At the time, the Head of State assured that there would be “no royalty or specific tax during the end of the concession period”.
The state can be forced
In the meantime, litigation can be a way for the authorities to counter the State and its tax project. As explained by our colleagues from Parisian Friday, “the State can be forced if, as they now threaten to do, the motorway companies take the path of litigation”.
Remember that Clément Beaune still mentioned last week on France info the idea of this new tax on toll prices. This is to finance the ecological transition, without impacting users. Which is hard to believe…
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To sum up
While the government intends to tax the motorway concession companies more, the representatives of the latter intend not to let it go. They evoke the idea of taking the path of litigation, in order to counter the State.