The French forced the government not to raise fuel taxesDecember 4, 2018
In the third week of the street battles in Paris, which started around the “yellow jackets” protest, the French authorities quivered and announced that they would not raise the fuel tax from January 1 and want to enter into a broad dialogue with the public about tax reform.
Official France is a fierce preacher of the “green” doctrine and a staunch supporter of the theory of global warming. In recent years, the French authorities have declared a real war on diesel engines and systematically increase the fuel tax in order to stimulate development in the field of alternative energy and reduce the country’s dependence on hydrocarbons. Ordinary people, however, do not understand why such complex conceptual problems are solved at their expense. At the beginning of 2018, the authorities have already raised the environmental tax on fuel, with the result that diesel fuel has risen in price by an average of 23% and caught up in retail price with gasoline, which in turn went up by 15%. The next tax increase was scheduled for January 1, 2019, and if it had taken place, diesel fuel would have risen in price by another 6.5 eurocent, and gasoline – by 2.9 eurocent. It would seem “pennies”, but they were the last straw in the series of unpopular reforms carried out by President Macron and the Cabinet of Ministers – in particular, earlier this year people took to the streets and were on strike because of changes in labor laws that infringe the rights of workers.
The movement of “yellow jackets” arose precisely in connection with the fuel tax: the protesters began to wear bright capes to attract additional attention. The protests began on November 17 and very quickly turned into clashes with the police, as the protesters paralyzed traffic in the very center of Paris – on the Champs Elysees and near the Arc de Triomphe.
At least 300 thousand people took part in the protest actions, and most of them behaved peacefully, and only ultra-left and ultra right-wing activists, provocateurs, for whom any reason to fight with the police was joyful, clashed with the police. As a result, the protests turned into real street battles with broken shop windows, burning cars, water cannons, flying stones, tear gas, hundreds of detainees and wounded. Four people died during the riots.
With the heat of the passions, the demands of the protesters also grew: in the second week of street clashes with the police, it was not enough for them to cancel the upcoming increase in the fuel tax — the protesters wanted the president and the government to leave. And today, the authorities backed out: during the day, the head of the government, Edouard Philip, made a televised address to the French people and announced that the tax on fuel would not be raised on January 1. It was also decided to freeze tariffs for gas and electricity, on which the protesters insisted.
The moratorium on tax increases is temporary, it will last half a year, during which the authorities promise to hold the broadest consultations (national debates) with the public on tax reform and take into account the opinions of all interested parties. Now it is important for the authorities to clean up the streets and quietly celebrate Christmas, to which hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world traditionally come to Paris and burning cars instead of Christmas trees are not what they expect to see here. The service sector has also been pressing hard on the government in recent days, demanding that it stop the mess in the streets, which has brought them losses of millions of euros. In general, the “yellow vests” celebrate victory in the battle, but the war is not over yet – what the so-called government negotiations with society will end in, no one is going to predict now.