The French President, Emmanuel Macron is dealing with the biggest since assuming office 18
months ago. In fact, the anti-tax-rise crisis is already evolving into a wider anti-Macron uprising,
thereby threatening the foundation of his political career.
The decision to go ahead with fuel tax increment starting from January, which is a part of the
longer-term measure to discourage the use of fossil fuel, was met with angst by the people in
rural or outer urban areas. Of course, these are the categories of people who use their cars
On Tuesday, a government source has hinted that the French government may have started the
preparation to suspend the fuel tax increase after weeks of intermittent violent protests.
The French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe is expected to make the announcement about the
suspension later on Tuesday. The government source, however, did not state clearly whether
the suspension will be for a while or the entire idea about the carbon-tax increment will be
The “yellow vest” movement, which began on November, 17 was initiated by a social media
group to counter the squeeze on household spending as a result of Macron’s fuel tax policy. The
name for the protest was derived from the high-visibility jackets, which all motorists in France,
by law, carry around in their cars.
According to the President, the taxes are necessary as measures to combat climate change.
Doing away with them could be a shameful setback as various governments are already coming
together in Poland to deliberate on ways to avert the damaging aftermaths of global warming.
The three-week-long protests, however, have evolved into a wider anti-Macron uprising. Many
citizens have criticized the President for creating policies that only favor the rich at the
the detriment of the poor.
Although the demonstrations have been mostly peaceful nationwide, the three successive
weekends in Paris had turned violent, given room for the damages of both public and private
properties. Last Saturday, the Arc de Triomphe national monument was vandalized, while
avenues off the Champs Elysees were also damaged. Private cars, buildings, and cafes were not
Undoubtedly, this unrest has cost the economy millions, including a large-scale interruption of
businesses and trades. Many manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, and hotels
looking to scale-up their businesses in the heat of the Christmas season were disappointed.
According to the hint from a senior member of Macron’s La Republique En Marche party, the
government is already considering to increase the minimum wage by January. This gesture,
along with other measures, is meant to boost the incomes of the working poor. The details of
these new measures, however, are not clear yet.
President Macron is a 40-year-old former investment banker and economy minister. He came
into office in mid-2017 with a promise to revamp the French economy, rejuvenate growth and
attract foreign investors by making the country more conducive for businesses to thrive.
However, most of his economic policies have been seen to support big business and lessening
the burden of tax on the wealthy. These policies have steadily built up anger among the blue-
collar workers and the middle-class, who are struggling to make ends meet. These measures
have earned Macron the title, “President of the rich.”