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France suspends controversial fuel tax after weeks of turmoil

A car destroyed by students can be seen on 4 December 201
8 near a technical school in Nantes (France). REUTERS / Stephane Mahe (Stephane Mahe / Reuters)

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced on Tuesday that the French government would temporarily suspend the controversial carbon tax plan on violent protests across the country.

In order to curb climate change, the government proposed a series of new carbon taxes that were due to come into force in January 2019 to free consumers from diesel and other polluting fuels and encourage electric cars. However, the price increases that represented these taxes sparked a wave of social unrest that had disappeared in recent years and quickly turned into a crisis, and President Emmanuel Macron became the youngest world leader to come home from the launch green taxes suffered.

"No Taxes It is worth while to endanger the unity of the nation," Philippe said when announcing the suspension.

The French government's announcement came as delegates from around the world held a climate conference in London Katowice (Poland) gathered to develop guidelines for how to comply with the demands of the Paris Agreement of 2015.

Since his election, Macron has become one of the most passionate supporters of climate change mitigation by all means available, and the reversion of his government [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentations]

For three weeks protesters in France – dressed in yellow safety vests – were on the streets across the country, especially in Paris, where scenes were particularly violent: demonstrators destroyed monuments, set fire to cars and shattered shop windows. The government went so far as to consider the possibility of a "state of emergency s "to avoid the riots.

Tuesday's announcement – a six-month suspension of proposed taxes – meant a significant turnaround for an initial government. Macron, who won the French presidential election in a landslide in 2017, struggled to maintain his popularity. Critics accused him of not being in touch with the concerns of ordinary people.

According to a November poll, Macron's approval is only 26 percent.

In his remarks, Philippe tried to reduce tension. He emphasized that the French government was indeed aware of the financial difficulties many demonstrators of the working class and the middle class had spent weeks pointing to, which went far beyond the specific topic of the carbon tax, unlike previous statements by the government, including a television appearance a representative of the Macron party, who was unable to determine the national minimum wage when he was squeezed by two representatives of the Yellow West Movement.

"The French who love the Yellow West love their country," said Philippe. "They want taxes to sink and work to pay. If I have not been able to say that, we have to change something.

Despite the violent glasses in Paris last weekend, the PM also went so far that the demonstrators of the Yellow West had a right to get angry. "This anger is widespread and has long boiled, and out of modesty or pride, it was often kept silent. But it was expressed today. One would have to be deaf or blind not to see or hear it.

Macron, a former investment banker, has long been mocked by left-wing critics as the "rich man," largely because of the weakness of the liberalization of market reforms he has pursued since taking office in May 2017.

While minor protests and strikes in the railroad accompanied the introduction of these earlier reforms, Macron, whose political party has an absolute majority in the French parliament, has always been able to get his way with little resistance.

However, the proposed fuel taxes were different and, in the eyes of many urban ignorance, represented the reality of life in rural areas that are relatively inaccessible to railways or other public transport. France has more diesel cars than any other country in Europe.

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