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After mass protests: Macron takes a big step towards the „yellow vests“


He announced in a speech to the nation on Monday evening evening major concessions in social policy.

For example, there should be no tax or social security contributions on overtime, Macron announced in a televised address. „We want a France where you can live worthily from your work.“

In addition, the minimum wage should be raised by 100 euros per month, said the French leader. Employers should, if they are able, pay their employees a premium.

After renewed violent riots and riots of the protest movement of the „Yellow West“ on the weekend, the president was under pressure. According to observers, this is the most serious crisis since Macron took office in May 2017.

On Saturday, more than 100,000 people had taken to the streets again, of which at least 10,000 in the capital to demonstrate for more tax justice. It was the fourth weekend in a row that the Yellow West movement had called for protests on a grand scale.

Macron had received top officials from politics and business in the Elysées Palace on Monday morning. At the meeting with representatives of the major unions, employers, presidents of the National Assembly and the Senate, the president wanted to hear voices and suggestions as to the answers to the ongoing protests of the Yellow West.

In the past week, Macron had conspicuously held back with public appearances. Instead, he sent Prime Minister Édourad Philippe. The call for answers from the president meanwhile became louder and louder.

It is already foreseeable
. The demands of the „yellow vests“ are now even more extensive – they demand, among other things, more direct democracy. For next Saturday, there are already new calls for protests.

Billions of tax and tax credits should cost France dearly. Actually, the French had promised Europe to restore public finances and to keep the Maastricht deficit limit of three percent of economic output permanently.

France now threatens not to meet again the three percent threshold. So far, the planning for 2019 foresees a budget deficit of 2.8 percent of economic output. For the first time since 2007, France was below the threshold in 2017 at 2.6 percent.

On Monday, the Banque de France halved the projected growth rate of gross domestic product for the fourth quarter. This is now only at 0.2 percent. The reason for this is the impact of the protests of the „Yellow West“. „In November, the current movement has affected industrial production in various sectors,“ it said.

Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire warned in the French channel RTL that the protests could also scare off foreign investors. „I see the impact this has on foreigners, obviously this is not good for the attractiveness of our country,“ said the minister. „Now it is important that we end this crisis and find peace and harmony between the French.“

The protest movement of the „Yellow West“ had formed in mid-November in view of planned tax increases on fuels. This project has meanwhile put the middle-government on ice because of the weeks-long protests. The demands of the demonstrators, however, quickly reached much further – from tax cuts over more purchasing power to Macron’s resignation.