Daily Management Review

Has Macron given up to Yellow Vests?


12/06/2018


The French government has announced a moratorium on gas tax.



Remi Jouan
Remi Jouan
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced moratorium on introduction of a gas tax for at least six months. The goal of the French authorities is to pacify the three-week stormy protests throughout the country.

The government explained introduction of the gas tax by fight against global warming and climate change. For certain, the authorities considered the possibility of canceling introduction of the tax a week ago, but they took this step after the weekend, marked by new, even more ambitious performances of “yellow vests”, which, by the way, take place on Saturdays and Sundays. They differed from the previous ones by participation of representatives of other population groups in France.

The “yellow vests” protests began three weeks ago, when a group of Frenchmen demanded that the authorities abolish the planned tax on gasoline. They blocked roads and organized protests. Later, the actions turned into clashes with the police in the capital, which resulted in victims and wounded from both the yellow vests and the law enforcement agencies. Hundreds of people were detained.

However, it is premature to say that the moratorium automatically means a decrease in tensions in France. The situation has gone so far that it seems that abolition of the gasoline tax hated by the French is not enough.

“One moratorium is not enough,” said Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a well-known environmentalist and friend of President Macron. “Now President must step in. And he has to put other things on the table. ”

Cohn-Bendit, one of the leaders of the protests in May 1968, meant wealth tax and income tax.

The government certainly understands the fact that abolition of a moratorium is not enough to calm the raging passions. Édouard Philippe announced freezing of prices for electricity and gas, which were to grow on January 1. In addition to the tax on gasoline, introduction of stricter emission standards for cars is also postponed. The head of government also announced cancellation of new technical control rules announced in May. Not only they are much stricter than the old ones, but are also more expensive by 10-20 euro.

The moratorium on the tax on gasoline is late, and it is confirmed by the fact that the meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening between the representatives of the "yellow vests" and Prime Minister Philip is canceled. 
Perhaps, abolition of the tax on gasoline would satisfy the populist movement two or three weeks ago, when protests were just beginning. Now the list of requirements of "yellow vests" is much longer. In a nutshell, they demand higher wages and lower taxes.

The small victory added courage and arrogance to “yellow vests”. The authorities, of course, can resort to repression, which, by the way, was openly hinted by Emmanuel Macron after returning from Buenos Aires. However, power of the protesters grew significantly in three weeks. Now the protest movement threatens to reach high school students and farmers.

source: reuters.com






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