Macron promises to axe France’s TV licence if he is re-elected

In his first campaign rally, Emmanuel Macron has laid out his re-election campaign, including a promise to end the TV licence fee (albeit without explaining how France's public service media will be financed in future).

Macron promises to axe France's TV licence if he is re-elected
France's President Emmanuel Macron on the campaign trail. (Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Macron has already axed the taxe d’habitation (householders’ tax) for most households, axing the TV licence fee as well would mean the end of the autumn tax bill entirely for many, although some communes have an additional charge for rubbish collection.

“We will remove the taxes that remain, the fee is part of it,” Macron said during his first candidate rally, a low-key town hall event with 200 residents of Poissy in the outer suburbs of Paris.

He said abolishing the licence fee – currently €138 a year – is consistent with the abolition of the taxe d’habitation, which has already been scrapped for 80 percent of householders and will eventually be scrapped for all, with the exception of second homes.

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: Who has to pay France’s TV licence?

The fee is used to finance the TV and radio channels of the public sector, such as France Télévisions, Radio France, Arte – and France Médias Monde, which includes channels such as France 24, and RFI.

Macron presented the measure in the middle of a series of proposals to support purchasing power, such as tripling the “Macron bonus”, without charges or taxes.

This tax-free bonus that he introduced in 2020, “we will triple it”, because “this is purchasing power,” he said.

He did not go into detail about how public service broadcasting would be financed in future. But the pledge is in line with rival candidates in the 2022 election race.

READ ALSO The 2022 French tax calendar

Valérie Pécresse, Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour have already announced their intention to abolish the TV licence – but while some have said they intend privatise some or all of France’s public service broadcasters, this does not seem to be in Macron’s plans. 

“Privatising public broadcasting is in no way the project that is ours, the project of candidate Emmanuel Macron,” LREM MP Aurore Bergé told France Info after Macron’s town hall event had ended. 

“The French were paying it at the same time they paid their housing tax. From the moment you abolish the housing tax, it was necessary in any case to find another mechanism, another lever of financing of public broadcasting,” Bergé said.

“The question is to manage to secure a perennial financing, probably on the State budget.

“There are those who privatise and those who, like us, on the contrary, perpetuate it.”

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Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

Students blockaded five schools in Paris on Tuesday to demonstrate their political concerns ahead of the second round of the Presidential elections on Sunday.

Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

In addition to the five blockaded lycées, the université Paris 8 in Saint-Denis was closed “for security reasons”.

The students – who are too young to make their voices heard at the ballot box – were protesting against the options available to voters in the second round – where incumbent Emmanuel Macron takes on far-right leader Marine Le Pen – and follows earlier student protests at the Sorbonne.

Many were demonstrating in protest at what they saw as inadequate policies on climate change and social issues from both candidates in the final round of voting, as well as the lack of choice for the electorate.

“It is a continuation of what happened at the Sorbonne,” one student told AFP. “We want a third social round, because the two candidates qualified for the second round have no social or ecological programmes. 

“We want to give a new breath to this Fifth Republic a little at the end of the race.

“We are fed up with the fascist state. We are here against Marine Le Pen, against fascism, for the climate and against capitalism,” another student at the lycée Louis-le-Grand in the capital’s fifth arrondissement said.

“We have blocked all the entrances. We will stay there as long as possible.”

About 100 students blockaded the prestigious school. Some students chant slogans against the “Front National” – the former name of second-round candidate Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National party.

The blockades ended peacefully at the end of the day.