The European Committee for Professional Yachting (ECPY) has likened the proposed tax on yachts in French waters to what happened in Sardinia between 2006 and 2009. According to ECPY, this legislation, if passed, would have a profound and potentially catastrophic effect.
In January, the French Senate introduced a bill to tax yachts that were cruising in any of the 322 French managed marine areas, representing almost a quarter of the country’s territorial waters. But the bill was kicked out by the National Assembly as they realised the damaging effect it could have on what is a lucrative industry and popular leisure pastime.
Since then an amendment has been tabled and the French government has resubmitted the bill. Furthermore, The Chamber of Deputies has passed the first reading of the law. Whilst not yet law, it means that the revised bill now passes to the French Senate, where it will be discussed, debated and altered (if necessary) before being returned to the Chamber of Deputies.
The new law as it is currently proposed would apply as follows:
• In mainland France from 1 June to 30 September (low traffic areas)
• All year in high traffic areas in metropolitan France and overseas
• In areas subject to management (national parks, Natura 2000 areas, marine protected areas)
• Each manager will decide whether this law will be applicable for the area or not
• Fee capped at 20 euros per meter of vessel per day
• Applicable by summer 2016
As ECPY says, it is obvious that this measure, if passed by the French government, would be a disaster for yachting in the area. In the case of Sardinia, it is estimated that yacht cruising in the taxable areas decreased by 50% over three years following the implementation of the legislation. Clearly this would have a profound effect on the maritime economy and those businesses associated with it.
ECPY, as representative of yachting professionals and owners of private and commercial yachts, is uniting its voice with other relevant associations to demand the complete abolition of the proposed legislation. In a statement released by ECPY, they said, ‘We have lost the first battle. Now we must renew our efforts to block the anchorage tax provisions from being passed by the Senate and afterwards by the Chamber of Deputies on the second reading.’