PARIS, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- French officials are threatening oil companies with new taxes if they don't lower prices, despite a EU request not to.
The threat was delivered over television to industry officials by Finance Minister Thierry Breton, who said such a move was only right given the profits companies are making off "speculation," the EU Observer reported Friday.
"We do not exclude the possibility of putting to a vote in parliament an exceptional tax corresponding to an exceptional situation," Breton said Thursday night. "I hope it doesn't come to that," he added. "But in any case we are determined."
His comments came despite appeals from the European Commission to member states asking them to refrain from unilateral action on the matter.
"The recent oil price rises, which have now attained an all time high is a source of growing concern from an economic perspective in the EU," Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said.
"Faced with a phenomenon which risks being long-term, only a coordinated response from all member states would enable us to engage in an effective solution."