What’s Going on in France?


Thomas Bresson

Manifestation du mouvement des gilets jaunes, à Belfort, le 01 décembre 2018.

This past week, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, spoke out to the “Giles Jaunes,” or the “Yellow Vests,” who have been protesting for over a month in response to another massive fuel tax hike. Even after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe suspended the tax, the protests have continued in Paris and other major cities causing riots and chaos. The protests are not as much about the specific tax and more about showing the dissatisfaction for Macron and his economic policies which hurt the middle and lower classes; only about a quarter of the French citizens approve of his performance thus far.

In his speech Macron, sitting at the most expensive and luxurious desk surrounded by gold in his home, addressed a record 23 million people who had tuned in to watch. He promised a wage increase of 100 euros per month, no more taxes on overtime work, and he encouraged employers to give bonuses which are planned to go into effect on January 1st.

The yellow vests are mixed on whether they feel that Macron’s emergency measures were enough, and it is yet to be seen whether the demonstrations will continue. The biggest concern of the French people is whether Macron actually cares about his people and the economic inequality he has created, so it will be interesting to see how the French people respond to his announcement.