The executive tried a strong gesture Wednesday evening, three days from a high-risk mobilization of “yellow vests”, by renouncing “for the year 2019” to fuel tax increases. The increases in these taxes scheduled for January 1 are “canceled for the year 2019”, said Minister of Ecological Transition François de Rugy.
“The president (Emmanuel Macron) I had him on the phone a few minutes ago,” assured the minister during a debate with “yellow vests” on BFMTV. He told me: + People had the impression that there was a trick, that they were told it was a suspension but hop, it will come back after + “.
“The President and the Prime Minister jointly expressed the wish that the increase in the carbon tax provided for in the 2019 budget be abolished. The citizen and parliamentary debate in the weeks and months to come should make it possible to find the solutions and funding that will meet the challenges of the ecological transition, solutions which will have to preserve the purchasing power of our fellow citizens, ”explained the Elysee.
LIVE. “The President and the Prime Minister have announced an abolition of these taxes”, says @MarleneSchiappa
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) December 5, 2018
“Whose act”, reacted quickly on Twitter Marine Le Pen. According to the president of the National Gathering, “the President must at all costs undertake on the honor not to reinstate this tax increase in the amending budget in the spring”.
Indeed, the situation is too serious for us to have fun playing with words. MLP https://t.co/THJvvXESdX
– Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) December 5, 2018
An ever more “uncontrollable” and “elusive” mobilization
The announcement came at the end of a day marked by the very strong concern of the executive in the face of a mobilization considered ever more “uncontrollable” and “elusive”, in the words of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. “We have reason to fear very great violence” Saturday, the Elysee told AFP, while calls for a new mobilization of “yellow vests” multiply throughout France.
Emmanuel Macron asked during the Council of Ministers “the political and trade union forces, the employers to launch a clear and explicit call for calm”, reported the government spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux. “What is at stake is the security of the French and our institutions. I appeal here to responsibility,” said Édouard Philippe during a speech to the Assembly.
“All those involved in the public debate, political leaders, union officials, editorial writers and citizens, will be accountable for their statements in the days to come,” he added. Édouard Philippe submitted to deputies in the afternoon a declaration defending his announcements of an abandonment in the 2019 budget of the increase in the carbon tax, a freeze on gas and electricity prices this winter, and renouncing to tighten the motor vehicle inspection before the summer, all measures responding to requests from “yellow vests”.
He also deemed “necessary” a debate on the reform of the wealth tax (ISF) – on the removal of which Emmanuel Macron excludes returning. Edouard Philippe, on the other hand, ruled out that the vast citizen debate on taxes and public spending leads to “the creation of new taxes” or “an increase in deficits”. The declaration was approved by 358 votes to 194.
Invited, like all groups in the Assembly, to respond to the head of government, the Insoumis leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon swept away the measures of the executive, and judged that France was “in a state of general insubordination”. The Communist Fabien Roussel implicated in his wake “the president of the rich”, while Valérie Rabault, leader of the PS deputies, demanded the return of the ISF and the “States General of purchasing power”. On the right, Christian Jacob, president of the Republican deputies, lambasted “the real responsible”, who “is at the Elysee”. “By being unable to respond at the right time to cries of distress, coming from all walks of life, all social classes and all regions, you have sowed discord and violence,” he accused.
The executive fears above all a new explosion of violence this weekend, after the scenes of riots on Saturday, December 1, especially in Paris. He fears an extension of anger to other sectors, at a time when the FNSEA announces that farmers are also going to mobilize. The CGT and FO federations of the road transport sector have called for a strike from Sunday evening for an indefinite period. The situation is also tense in high schools.
Three weeks of blockage
The first measures taken, among the most requested by the “yellow vests” constitute a setback for the executive, which insisted until recent days on its determination to “stay the fiscal course” of the ecological transition. But for Jean-François Amadieu, sociologist at the University of Paris I, the executive took too long to let go of the ballast. “When you let it get bogged down too long, it costs more,” he told AFP, and the concessions to be made are all the stronger.
The “yellow vests” continued their actions on Wednesday, still targeting oil depots, roads and commercial areas, but service stations in short supply of fuel in recent days are being resupplied. Everywhere in France, calls to mobilize again on Saturday are increasing and the Interior Ministry reports a “mobilization on the part of the ultra-right and the ultra-left”.
From the same source, “we see a real radicalization of some + yellow vests +, as we could see in the immediate appearances since Monday but also in their remarks. They are radicalized by violence and politically.” Edouard Philippe reiterated Wednesday the call not to demonstrate in Paris on Saturday, and warned that the government would be “intractable” in the face of “factious” and “thugs”.
Rarely, all the major national employee unions have decided to meet on Thursday. For their part, the SUD-Rail union and the CGT of the Lafarge-Holcim cement group called on Wednesday to demonstrate on Saturday alongside the “yellow vests” throughout France, the railway union also calling on the railway workers to let the latter travel “for free. ” by train.