Offbeat: Five consequences of France's 'yellow vest' protests - PressFrom - US

OffbeatFive consequences of France's 'yellow vest' protests

15:55  06 december  2018
15:55  06 december  2018 Source:

Macron says France will delay cap on nuclear energy

Macron says France will delay cap on nuclear energy French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday the country will move more slowly than promised to cap the amount of energy it derives from nuclear energy. Amid daily protests about high energy prices, Macron said France will shut down 14 nuclear reactors by 2035 out of 58 now in order. Yet he said France would cap the amount of electricity it derives from nuclear plants at 50 percent by 2035. That is a delay compared with the goal of 2025 set by his predecessor, Francois Hollande. France depends more on nuclear energy than any other country, getting about three-quarters of its electricity from its 19 nuclear plants.

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron returned to France on Sunday from a summit meeting in Argentina to find his country in turmoil after a day of violent protests . After surveying the destruction, Mr. Macron ordered Prime Minister Édouard Philippe to meet with representatives of the “ Yellow

The protests have not been devoid of compassion, however. In the town of Pau, in southwestern France , police found a way to peacefully disperse protesters . A standoff at the Arc de Triomphe led some to draw parallels between the Yellow Vest protests and France ’ s revolutionary past.

Five consequences of France's 'yellow vest' protests© Provided by AFP Macron has seen his authority and image take a severe blow

Anti-government protesters wearing florescent yellow jackets have roiled France for nearly three weeks and shaken the government of President Emmanuel Macron. Here are five key consequences of the crisis:

1 - A weakened president at home

Since his election in May 2017, Macron, a former investment banker, had styled himself as a resolute and visionary president in the style of famed former French leaders such as Charles de Gaulle.

His detractors saw in him the authoritarian instincts of a older historical figure: Napoleon Bonaparte, the 19th-century general who named himself emperor of the French.

Woman dies in France fuel protests

Woman dies in France fuel protests An 80-year-old woman has died after being hit by a tear gas canister at her window during Saturday's fuel protests in the French city of Marseille. The woman, who lived in an apartment near to where the protests were taking place, was hit in the face while closing the shutters. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Protests over fuel tax have grown into general anger at higher living costs.

PARIS — The broken glass and empty tear gas canisters have been swept away and the graffiti scrubbed off the major monuments, among them the Arc de Triomphe, after a weekend of violent protests in the capital by a grass-roots movement that calls itself the Yellow Vests .

They have staged some of the most comprehensive protests seen in France since 1968, but who are the people making up the "gilets jaunes" ( yellow vest ) movement? The protesters , thus named because they sport the distinctive yellow high-visibility jackets required to be carried in every vehicle

Having abandoned planned fuel tax hikes on Wednesday, a week after ruling this out in a televised address to the nation, Macron has seen his authority and image take a severe blow.

"The Bonapartist method which was successful at the beginning to launch his reforms is not suitable any more," Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet, an expert in political communication, told AFP this week.

The protests also come as his government is preparing to push through other contested changes, including a hugely sensitive shake-up of the pension system which is likely to spark fierce resistance.

With his political opponents emboldened and protesters sensing weakness, will Macron be able to deliver any more of his vision of a France that is more business-friendly and less dependent on state spending?

Violent protests in France reveal a hard-to-heal fracture

Violent protests in France reveal a hard-to-heal fracture A grassroots protest movement in France has ballooned and radicalized, unleashing anger that devastated the heart of Paris in weekend riots and revealed a fracture in the country between the haves and have-nots. Tough talk by unpopular President Emmanuel Macron appears unlikely to mend the growing sense of social injustice. Discontent about the rising cost of living among the "little people," as many protesters call themselves, had been growing, along with a sense of marginalization. The approach of Macron's fuel tax increases in January, meant to wean the French off fossil fuels, has caused things to snap.

They have staged some of the most comprehensive protests seen in France since 1968, but who are the people making up the "gilets jaunes" ( yellow vest ) movement? The protesters , thus named because they sport the distinctive yellow high-visibility jackets required to be carried in every vehicle

Protests in France turn violent again 02:17. (CNN) French President Emmanuel Macron has asked Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to meet with heads of political parties and representatives of the so-called " yellow vests " in an attempt to defuse tensions that erupted into violent protests over the

2 - Angry France is back

The sight of burning barricades in the street, mass demonstrations and a government in a retreat is a wearily familiar one for observers of France.

But for foreign investors and his fans abroad, Macron had provided hope that France might finally put an end to decades of high unemployment and low growth.

Five consequences of France's 'yellow vest' protests© Provided by AFP Angry street protests are back

The 40-year-old spent much of his first 18 months in office wooing foreign companies, at one point inviting global CEOs to the Versailles Palace for dinner, where he wheeled out his catchphrase: "France is back!"

Overhauls of labour laws and the state railways, as well as tax cuts for businesses and high-earners, passed with relative ease.

But it is angry street protests that are back, not the image of a "start-up nation" wedded to innovation and technology that Macron envisioned.

"The attractiveness of France has taken a real hit," Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire conceded on Monday.

Will Macron's U-turn stop France's 'yellow vest' protests?

Will Macron's U-turn stop France's 'yellow vest' protests? The French government has announced a major U-turn in suspending fuel tax rises in a bid to end increasingly violent demonstrations. But who are the "yellow vest" protesters, and will the tax relief and other concessions be enough to mollify their anger? - Who are the protesters? - The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vests) movement sprang up in late October against increases in fuel taxes announced as part of President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to pursue clean energy policies.

France ' s prime minister on Tuesday suspended planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months in response to weeks of sometimes violent protests But the scale of the protests against his policies made it almost impossible to plow ahead as he had hoped. While the “ yellow vest ” movement was

France will suspend fuel price hikes after ongoing protests turned violent over the weekend, in a major concession by President Emmanuel Macron' s government.

3 - Nationalists rejoice

The election of Macron, a pro-EU centrist, bucked the electoral trends around Europe which have seen gains for rightwing populism -- something Macron has likened to "leprosy".

Since taking office, he has positioned himself within the EU and on the international stage as a leading voice for centrist politics and multilateralism.

Five consequences of France's 'yellow vest' protests© Provided by AFP Only 26% of French people have confidence in their president to resolve the country's problems, according to an opinion poll by Kantar TNS in November 2018.

With European Parliament elections looming in May, Macron said voters faced a stark choice between nationalists like Hungary's hard-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italian far-right leader Matteo Salvini, and his own "progressive" camp.

His side has taken a hit.

"Macron is not a problem for me, Macron is a problem for the French," Salvini quipped this week in an interview with Politico.

4 - Economic strains

Macron had named reining in France's public spending a priority since taking office and had set himself an objective of balancing the country's books for the first time since the 1970s by the end of his term.

'Yellow vest' members meet with French PM

'Yellow vest' members meet with French PM Seven members of the "yellow vest" movement say they are satisfied after their meeting with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on the eve of anti-government protests that authorities fear could turn violent. One of the participants to the meeting, Christophe Chalancon, told reporters the delegation of protesters called for measures aimed at improving the workers' salaries and the purchasing power of the French. The prime minister "listened to us", he said. Another participant, Jacline Mouraud, said that "we are now waiting for the President (Emmanuel Macron) to speak.

“ Yellow Vest ” protesters at a roundabout in St.-Vaury, France . But he vows the protesters are not going anywhere. The “ Yellow Vest ” protests he is a part of present an extraordinary venting of rage and resentment by ordinary working people, aimed at the mounting inequalities that have eroded their

Protesters from France ' s "gilet jaunes" ( yellow vests ) movement have pulled out of a meeting with PM Edouard Philippe scheduled for Tuesday. " Yellow - vests " are so called because they have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle by

Five consequences of France's 'yellow vest' protests© Provided by AFP The violent street protests in Paris have raised questions abroad if President Emmanuel Macron (C) is still able to reform France - let alone the European Union

But cancelling planned fuel tax rises next year will leave a hole in the budget of around two billion euros ($2.3 billion), and Macron might still have to give more ground to appease the angry "yellow vests."

The government had a target of reducing its deficit to 2.8 percent of GDP this year, just under the 3.0 percent limit set under the EU's Stability and Growth Pact.

Any further concessions or a decline in economic growth -- due to disruption from the protests, falling investment or fewer visits by tourists -- will exacerbate the impact of the crisis.

5 - A republic under pressure

The crisis has prompted a new round of soul-searching about France's fifth republic, established under de Gaulle in 1958, which institutionalised the role of an all-powerful president.

The new constitution was intended to put an end to the instability and ineffectiveness of the parliamentary system which emerged in France after World War II.

But the French have soured in record time on three successive leaders -- Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande and now Macron -- making many observers question the hyper-centralisation of power in the hands of the president.

Macron scored just 24 percent of the votes in the first round of the presidential election, pushing him into the final round but leading his most vocal critics to question his legitimacy and his programme ever since.

"The republic is under threat," the head of the upper house of parliament, Gerard Larcher, told France Inter radio. "I'm not seeking to be dramatic. I want everyone to understand their responsibilities."

France sees 6th yellow vest protester die in road accident.
A sixth "yellow vest" protester has been killed in France after being hit by a truck at a road blockade near the southern city of Avignon, French authorities said Thursday, as the protest movement showed no signs of abating. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Officials in the Vaucluse department said the driver was arrested and taken into custody after he tried to flee the scene. The Vaucluse prefect's office said the protester got emergency treatment but died from his wounds overnight.

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