Love them or hate them, can’t ignore yellow vests
Today was going to be a yellow vest free-zone, after we managed to upset some readers with a comment about the yellow vest policies yesterday.
However, love them or hate them, admire them or be frustrated with them, they can’t be ignored.
After ardently pushing through reforms since taking office in May 2017, Emmanuel Macron’s administration gave activists a first sign of weakness. In an 11-minute, to-the-point speech on Tuesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe made official what had already leaked to the press earlier in the day: The government is backing down on a controversial carbon tax.
“No tax is worth imperiling the unity of the nation,” Philippe declared.
The tax, unveiled with little fanfare in October, triggered a grassroots backlash on social media that snowballed into a 280,000-strong protest on November 17, with violent outbursts in Paris and across France that left the country in a state of shock and made global headlines.
Tuesday’s surrender amounts to a precedent-busting change of tone for Macron’s administration, which had previously treated the phrase “stay the course” as a quasi-slogan. But the government was rocked by the ferocity and popularity of the protests, which suggested the president was badly out of touch with ordinary working people and hit his own poll ratings.
Citing the “interest of maintaining calm,” Philippe said all carbon tax changes would be suspended for at least six months, and regulated electricity prices frozen during that time. He added that new requirements for car check-ups would be postponed as well.
Quite why Macron buckled this time remains unclear. But the violent images beamed across the world certainly weren’t helping the president’s campaign to rebrand France as an investment destination.
Source Midi Libre, Politico
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