France tops OECD list of most taxed countries

France topped the list of most taxed countries in 2017, potentially providing new fodder to protesters in the country who are rioting against a higher fuel tax proposed by President Emmanuel Macron.

According to data published on Wednesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), France’s tax revenues rose to 46.2 percent of its GDP, usurping Denmark as the highest-taxed country.

Overall, tax-to-GDP ratio rose slightly last year to 34.2 percent, compared to 34 percent the year prior – a higher average than any other year since the international policy forum began tracking it, according to the OECD.

Denmark and Belgium followed France as the most taxed countries, while the U.S. came in at number six. Nineteen countries saw an increase in tax revenue, while it fell in the remaining 15.

High taxes in France have been the source of discontent and unrest among residents. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday postponed a proposed hike in the country’s tax on gas and diesel fuel, intended to encourage more usage of electric vehicles.

The next planned rise on the fuel tax, which was originally scheduled to take place on Jan. 1, has been suspended for six months.

It was a significant reversal for Macron’s government, preceded by weeks of violent protests by people known as “yellow vests,” named for the bright yellow garments they wear, that left four people dead.

Macron, who swept into office in 2017 as an economic reformist, has said the tax is necessary to fight climate change and meet budget deficit reduction targets, but critics have slammed him as a president for the rich.