Macron letter bids to quell French yellow vest anger

Macron letter bids to quell French yellow vest anger

Yellow vest protesters and political rivals have criticised a sweeping "letter to the French" from President Emmanuel Macron as not going far enough to quell national anger at his policies.

Mr Macron's letter explains how he is addressing the anti-government movement concerns through a "grand debate" in local meetings around the country and on the internet, starting on Tuesday.

Yellow vest protesters demonstrate peacefully in the streets of Paris, France, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Yellow vest protesters demonstrate peacefully in the streets of Paris, France, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The debate will focus on taxes, public services, climate change and democracy.

Yellow vest representative Jeremy Clement told BFM television that the letter "settles part of the problem" but does not go far enough to address sinking purchasing power.

Protester Jerome Rodrigues told CNews television that Mr Macron failed to recognise "the urgency" of concerns of low-income workers and retirees.

Others criticised Mr Macron for ruling out a restoration of France's wealth tax on households with assets above €1.3m, and opposition leaders also criticised the letter.

In it, Mr Macron said there are no prohibited topics and lists more than 30 questions.

He suggests the French can express their views on which taxes should be lowered, what solutions there are for reducing the price of travel, heating and food, and whether mandatory voting and reducing the number of lawmakers should be considered.

Mr Macron also mentions the possibility of introducing annual immigration quotas, saying it would not apply to asylum status.

He stresses that "we will not abandon measures we have taken ... to encourage investment and make the work pay more".

Yellow vest protestors barricade a street with burning garbage containers in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Yellow vest protestors barricade a street with burning garbage containers in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

The French leader said the debate would help the government develop policies and France's position on the European and international scene.

The debate comes as the yellow vest movement appeared to gain new momentum this weekend.

The French Interior Ministry said about 84,000 people turned out on Saturday for the ninth straight round of demonstrations across France, up from 50,000 the previous week.

Thierry Paul Valette, founder of a group called "yellow vests citizens", said the yellow vests would have "no break. The mobilisations continue".

More on this topic

Commuters walk or cycle to work in worst Paris transport strikes since 2007Commuters walk or cycle to work in worst Paris transport strikes since 2007

Public transport strike over pensions reform paralyses ParisPublic transport strike over pensions reform paralyses Paris

Disneyland Paris to hold open auditions in Dublin for Disney and Marvel charactersDisneyland Paris to hold open auditions in Dublin for Disney and Marvel characters

Laser show marks Eiffel Tower’s 130th birthdayLaser show marks Eiffel Tower’s 130th birthday

More in this Section

Trump signals restraint on possible military strike on IranTrump signals restraint on possible military strike on Iran

Jeremy Corbyn rules out coalition in event of hung parliamentJeremy Corbyn rules out coalition in event of hung parliament

Greta: I never imagined climate strikes would take off so quicklyGreta: I never imagined climate strikes would take off so quickly

John Bercow apologises for failing to declare company on MPs’ registerJohn Bercow apologises for failing to declare company on MPs’ register


Lifestyle

As he launches his latest cookbook, Donal Skehan talks to Clodagh Finn about juggling his career and family, and why a heavy workload has left him with a few grey hairs.Getting back to basics with Donal Skehan

Venetia Quick, co-founder of ‘Grief Encounters’ tells Ruth O’Connor that there is no right or wrong way to grieve the death of a loved one.Grief Encounters: Podcast opening up conversation about bereavement

Once again for this week’s review I was reminded about the quality of Irish meat — and yet it seems the meat processors expect our farmers to produce it at a loss.Restaurant Review: Mister S, Camden St Upper, Dublin 2

Your guide to what's going on in the gardening world this week.Gardening notes: Your guide to what's on

More From The Irish Examiner