France PM: Government abandoning fuel tax

Paris riots continue despite fuel tax delay

According to French journalist Agnès C. Poirier, both far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing group France Unbowed, have tried to link themselves to the Yellow Vest movement-but their attempts have been rebuffed.

French President Emmanuel Macron scrapped a fuel tax rise Wednesday amid fears of new violence, after weeks of nationwide protests and the worst rioting in Paris in decades. But taxes on fossil fuels are just what global climate negotiators, meeting in Poland this week, say are desperately needed to help wean the world off of fossil fuels and slow climate change. "They want social justice", Thierry Paul Valette, a Paris protest coordinator, told Al Jazeera.

Planned tax increases on petrol and diesel on Jan 1 will be suspended for six months, while hikes in regulated electricity and gas prices will be frozen during the winter.

On Sunday he was booed while surveying the damage caused by rioters in Paris, .

Reversing course on next year's fuel-tax hikes has left a gaping €4 billion ($6 billion Cdn) hole in the government's 2019 budget, which it is searching for ways to plug.

"These people can not respond to the people because they are technocrats", he said. Macron's office said it had "no comment" on Trump's tweets. By comparison, the Yellow Vests' demands are supported by more than three quarters of French citizens.

But abolishing it cost the government an estimated €3.2bn in annual tax revenue - and helped earned Mr Macron his reputation as "president of the rich".

Despite pressure from the street protests, Macron's team is acutely aware that such a tax would deter foreign investors. But he vigorously defended it and won the presidency in part on a promise to fight climate change.

"We are facing people who are not here to protest, but to smash and we want to have the means to not give them a free rein", Philippe told TF1 television's evening news program. He said the wealth tax could be reassessed in the autumn of 2019.

A series of football matches have also been postponed. "This is hard enough without adding poor design".

President Macron, the central target of the protests, has been largely invisible all week.

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".

Immediately after coming to power in 2017, Macron pushed through tax cuts for entrepreneurs and high-earners - an "original sin" for his critics. But for many French, it was too little, too late.

Mr Macron was elected on a platform of economic reform which would improve the lives of French people via lower unemployment and a kick-started economy.

They have grown to reflect more widespread anger at the government. And because energy costs are nearly impossible to avoid, they feel trapped. Drivers wearing their signature yellow safety vests continued to block roads around France, now demanding broader tax cuts and wider government social benefits. "We can not let these rebels continue to threaten the nation", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Thursday.

The key is giving a good chunk of money back to the people, Wesleyan University environmental economist Gary Yohe said. Then, on Wednesday, France announced it was scrapping the tax altogether.

The protests could have been predicted by anybody who remembers the reaction to France's fuel taxes in 2000-although the current situation is far more serious, Tuccille warns. I think he was very sensitive about this.

He has nonetheless called in police reinforcements, fearing more violence.

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