French president expected to make cost of living concessions after two weeks of protests

macron speech protest fuel hike
Photo: Reuters
macron speech protest fuel hike
Photo: Reuters

France’s Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce measures that will reduce the cost of adopting green technologies when he addresses the nation today. The move is a nod to the hundreds of thousands that have protested against increased costs of living, as well as Mr Macron’s pro-business and pro-environment reforms.

Despite scenes of violence and the death of two people, the so-called ‘yellow vest’ demonstrators have attracted popular support; three-quarters of those polled held positive views of the protestors. Leaders of the two largest opposition parties have also voiced their support, as has far-right leader Marine Le Penne. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has blamed the far-right for provoking the unrest.

But while Ms Le Penne did tweet to spur on protestors, it is joblessness and reduced purchasing power that are the root causes of the protests. Unemployment in France remains at 9.1% while youth unemployment sits at more than 20%.

For Mr Macron, one figure makes for even worse reading: his approval rating. Just 26% of those polled by BVA had a favourable opinion of Macron, down from 46% last November. The French president will be hoping that today’s announcements—which will reportedly include a call for “grassroot debates” on future green policies—can staunch the bleeding.

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