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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
E-mail tax MEP upgrades website
Alain Lamassoure
Some e-mails suggested burning Mr Lamassoure at the stake
A French MEP who raised the idea of a tax on e-mails and text messages is upgrading his website after it was overloaded by angry e-mail complaints.

Last May, Alain Lamassoure said a tax of 1.5 euro cents (1p, 1.9 US cents) on texts and 0.00001 cents on e-mails could help fund the EU in future.

But the proposal caused fury across the blogosphere, and some 2,000 e-mails swamped his message board.

Mr Lamassoure then backtracked and said he would no longer push the idea.

New software

After the controversy, it became difficult to open the forum section of his website, alainlamassoure.com.

Take his computer away, give him back a typewriter
E-mail to alainlamassoure.com message board
But new software will be installed in the next few days to make the system work better, his office says.

The angry messages currently displayed on the site will then disappear.

"Who let this guy out of the lunatic asylum?" reads one message written in English.

"Take his computer away, give him back a typewriter, and please don't listen to his bullshit any more."

One French writer expressed nostalgia for a time when "those who bled the people white were burnt at the stake."

Another wrote: "In France we keep coming up with new taxes but we never get rid of the old ones. All this ends up in the bottomless pit we call the treasury."


Mr Lamassoure's idea was that the tax for texts and messages sent and received within France should go to the French treasury, but part of the revenue from international traffic should go to Brussels.

A former French finance minister, and a member of the governing UMP Party, he is drawing up a European Parliament report on ways of reforming the funding of the EU.

"I insist these ideas are not on the table for our European work, and, for my part, I have no intention of putting them on the table," he wrote in the wake of the furore, in what was described as a "clarification".

An assistant said Mr Lamassoure was still interested, from a theoretical point of view, in the idea that services arising from the technology and communication revolution could in future provide a source of tax revenue.

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