Of the eleven candidates in the first round of the French presidential elections, whose programmes on transport we presented for you, only two remain: Marine Le Pen, on the far right, and Emmanuel Macron, in the centre. Below you will find their proposals for the sector.
Marine Le Pen (Front National)
Business: The far-right candidate wants to leave the European Union and the euro, which would affect all companies, in particular those that do business in several countries. She wants to abolish the Prevention of Strenuous Working Conditions Account and let occupational physicians determine the strenuousness on an individual basis. The move would be compensated by higher retirement annuities. Marine Le Pen wants to increase tax on imports, compel purchasing of ‘French’ products, reduce taxes on SMEs and allow companies to encourage their employees to work more than 35 hours. She also intends to redirect aid for large companies towards medium, small and very small companies. She hopes to abolish the competitiveness and employment tax credit (CICE), and the research tax credit. To compensate this, she will lower taxes on small companies by €50 billion.
Transport: Marine Le Pen intends to put an end to workers on secondment. She believes that foreign-registered transport companies in France have doubled over the past ten years, while the number of French companies remained stable. Her first assertion is contradicted by the most recent report on the topic by the Ministry for the Economy: in 2014, 63% of freight transportation was performed by French companies, compared to 78% in 1995. Indeed, 15% is a considerable increase, but it has far from doubled. The Front National also wants to employ more controllers to fight fraud and illegal coastal navigation, without detailing how those jobs would be funded. She also wants to renationalise the motorways, again without funding such a costly measure. According to the Socialist Party member, Jean-Paul Chanteguet, spokesperson for the parliamentary mission on the French eco-tax, the move would cost “€15 to €20 billion” on top of the €31 million already funded by those companies authorised to operate the roads.
Finally, the president of the Front National would like to prevent what she considers as the “uberisation of the sector, in particular last-mile deliveries”, by launching a major investment plan to diversify freight transport in France. Again, no detailed figures are given. The only explanation given is that all the measures will be funded by foreign transporters. This would naturally result in considerable retaliatory measures for French companies operating outside the country. Generally speaking, the Front National wants to reduce road transport.
Emmanuel Macron (En Marche !)
Business: The former minister for the economy wants to facilitate the hiring of low-qualified employees by abolishing taxes on minimum-wage earners, and re-establishing exonerations on social contributions for working overtime. Emmanuel Macron wants to transform the competitiveness and employment tax credit (CICE) into a reduction in taxes. But for the many small transport companies who would not benefit from the measure, he proposes a specific exemption from payment of social contributions. He intends to create a bonus/penalty system for companies that create too many short-term contracts. Emmanuel Macron hopes to revise the definition of Prevention of Strenuous Working Conditions Account but will not abolish it.
Transport: Emmanuel Macron intends to fight against illegal coastal navigation by reinforcing controls. He would fund the measure by increasing penalties on foreign companies at fault. As for workers on secondment, the leader of En Marche ! does not wish to abolish the directive, which would jeopardise the 200,000 French citizens in this position. He does however wish to revise it. The former minister for the economy wants to apply the same social and wage rules for all drivers across Europe. Remember that this is the law that he designed himself and that bears his name. The law provides for foreign drivers working in France to be paid the minimum wage in France if it is higher than in their country of origin. The law stipulates that drivers must have a certificate of secondment in France issued by their employer and their employment contract proving their legal status.
Emmanuel Macron would allocate €50 billion to renovate road, rail, river and port networks to reduce road congestion. He would fund the measure in particular with a 2-cent per litre increase on domestic consumption tax on energy products (TICPE). He wants to speed up the digital transformation of the road network to increase the flow and reliability of existing infrastructure. He wants to encourage the transition towards cleaner transport that consumes less energy, and align the diesel tax with the tax on petrol. His long-term ambition is to stop manufacturing combustion-powered vehicles by 2040. One of the major road transport measures introduced by Emmanuel Macron when he was in government was the liberalisation of long-distance coach transport. Last year, so-called “Macron” coaches transported eight million travellers in France.