As France still struggles to get a grip on the massive protests that have been raging through the country for weeks, President Emmanuel Macron has admitted that the country is in a state of “economic emergency.”
Macron, addressed the nation and called for “support” for the French economy. His address comes after four weekends of protests that started over the increase of fuel prices and turned into major discontent with his economic policies that demonstrators said favored the rich.
The protests throughout the country boiled over into riots, clashing with police who resorted to using chemical tear gas.
The president then announced that the “minimal wages will be increased by €100 ($113) per month” starting in May 2019. He also pledged to cancel taxes on overtime labor and introduce special tax exemptions for people earning less than €2,000 ($2,270) per month.
Macron, who is often criticized for allegedly only serving the interests of the rich in France, also announced that he ordered the prime minister to develop proposals that would allow “enterprises and the richest members of our society to contribute” to the program of the national economy support, yet he refused to reinforce the so-called “wealth tax.”
Macron scrapped the Solidarity Tax on Wealth (ISF) that forced all French households with assets of over €1.3 million ($1.48 million) to pay an additional percentage in 2017, provoking a wave of criticism from the public and the opposition politicians.
Macron blamed his predecessors for the poor state of affairs in France. He said that the living standards have been deteriorating for some 40 years against the background of the increasing income gap, which together fueled the social tensions.
The people, however, did not quite believe the bright future Macron painted in his speech as many called such measures populist while arguing that they would not bring any real changes or would even make the situation worse.
Some people hailed Macron’s announcement as an actual victory for the Yellow Vest movement – an umbrella group behind the massive protests.
“In six weeks, the Yellow Vests got what the trade unions did not get in 30 years,”
RT. com / ABC Flash Point Poverty News 2018.