updated 6/7/2005 5:17:49 PM ET 2005-06-07T21:17:49

France lost an emotional bid Tuesday to slash restaurant taxes.

France sought to lower value added taxes on restaurant meals from 19.6 percent to 10 percent, but failed to get the unanimous backing from its European Union partners at a finance ministers meeting.

France had hoped that cheaper restaurant bills would create jobs and give its sputtering economy a boost. French chefs also complained the current system favors fast-food outlets that pay lower VAT on takeout food.

Pressing their point, hundreds of restaurateurs wearing tall white chef hats protested outside the German Embassy in Paris demanding that Germany accept the proposal.

Germany remained opposed, fearing its own chefs would demand similar treatment and that German eateries near the French border would lose business.

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