French govt. could consider bringing back wealth tax

Ivan Schwartz
December 6, 2018

The first "yellow vest" demonstrations - so-called because of the high-visibility jackets all French motorists must carry in their vehicles - were held to contest planned fuel tax increases, but have since evolved into a broader protest movement against Mr Macron, who is accused of turning a blind eye to the rising cost of living that has left many struggling to make ends meet.

On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe declared a six-month moratorium on the fuel tax increase and suspended electricity and gas price surges for three months following three-week-long protests across France.

"The French who have donned yellow vests want taxes to drop, and work to pay".

Farmers and trade unions pledged to join the nationwide demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron, with the Government's concessions failing to stem the momentum of the most violent demonstrations France has seen in decades.

Fuel taxes had been set to rise on January 1.

She urged protesters to seize on the French government's weakness to push other demands such as a rise in the minimum wage.

In another interview with La Depeche, Cauchy was asked if the violent protests, which saw more than 260 people injured and caused several deaths across France over the weekend, will continue.

Farmers will also consider later Wednesday whether to mount a day of demonstrations and possibly road blockades next week, the head of the FNSEA agricultural union said.

"I have no problem with admitting that on such or such question we could have done differently, that if there is such a level of anger.it's because we still have a lot of things to improve", the prime minister told legislators.

This gaping hole in public finances will be funded entirely by corresponding spending cuts so that the French budget deficit does not veer from its planned target of 2.8 per cent in 2019, the source added. French citizens were already hit with a tax increase in January, and more than 60% of the cost of fuel in France comes from government fees. Macron's move was "on the right path but, in my opinion, it will not fundamentally change the movement", she said.

Burned cars litter the streets of Paris following Saturday's unrest
Image Burned cars litter the streets of Paris following Saturday's unrest

Many are also anxious after Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume said Wednesday that measures aimed at improving their negotiating power with distributors would be delayed as the government grapples with the "yellow vest" movement.

Macron's popularity has slumped to a new low since the first demonstrations took place on November 17.

But the policy, along with comments deemed insensitive to the working class, has prompted numerous ex-banker's critics to label him a "president of the rich".

"We need taxes, but they are not properly redistributed", protester Thomas Tricottet told BFM television.

In the port city of Marseille, students clashed with police outside a high school - one of about 100 high schools around France that were blocked or otherwise disrupted by student protests, according to the Education Ministry.

He has refrained from speaking publicly about the protests and has largely remained in his palace.

"Evidently the revolutionary tradition is still very much alive in France", he said with a smile.

He told the AP that the French public needs Macron to "admit he made a mistake, with simple words. that touch the guts and heart of the French".

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Macron's retreat vindicated his rejection of the 2015 Paris Agreement on combating climate change.

"I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protesters in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago", Trump tweeted.

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