Electrical power pylons of high-tension electricity power lines are seen in Saint-Folquin, near Gravelines, France, October 4, 2022. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
France will spend 8.4 billion euros ($8.67 billion) to help companies pay their energy bills, in a bid to cushion the impact of rising electricity and gas prices and help them compete with German businesses, its finance minister said on Saturday.
France will cut a special tax on electricity to the minimum allowed under EU rules and allow companies to tap a special mechanism to receive cheap nuclear-derived power. Small businesses will also benefit from the energy price caps already in place for households.
"(French) companies will be protected as well as German companies are," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Inter radio.
"We will also make sure that EU competition rules apply to all companies, whether they are Italian, Spanish, French or German," he said.
Earlier this year, Germany set out 200 billion euros to protect companies and households from high energy prices, drawing criticism from other EU countries fearing a distortion of the EU level playing field.
The 8.4 billion euros package France unveiled on Saturday is the cost for 2022 and 2023 together, the finance ministry said in a statement. France has already earmarked 45 billion euros to help households.
($1 = 0.9686 euros)