The French government will on Tuesday try to convince lawmakers and the public that President Emmanuel Macron's speech met the demands of the “yellow vest” movement, even as many demonstrators said they were disappointed and vowed to press on with their protest.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will detail for MPs the measures unveiled on Monday in Macron's televised address to the nation seeking to defuse revolt that has triggered violent protests across the country.
Just after the president's speech, many protesters announced their determination to continue their blockades and called for a “fifth act” throughout France on Saturday.
It would be the fifth consecutive Saturday of national protests since the movement started on November 17.
The protests, which have seen rioting in Paris and other cities and taken a heavy financial toll, are the biggest challenge for Macron since the former
investment banker came to power in May 2017 promising to revitalise the economy.
Since then his popularity has fallen with critics saying he favours the rich and alienates people struggling, especially in provincial France.
Polls have repeatedly shown around 70 percent of the French public back the “yellow vest” movement, however one survey published after Macron's speech revealed that 54 percent of French people want the movement to end.
Speaking before the National Assembly, the prime minister is expected to outline Tuesday the main measures announced by Macron: a 100 euro ($113)
increase in the minimum wage and rolling back most of an unpopular increase in taxes on pensioners which were introduced by his government.
It is not yet clear how the measures will be financed.
Macron will meet Tuesday with representatives of the banking sector and the following day with big companies to ask them to “participate in the collective
effort”, probably through tax measures.
The social measures announced Monday will cost “between eight and 10 billion (euros), we are in the process of clarifying it, to see also how we
will finance it,” said Olivier Dussopt, secretary of state to the ministry of public accounts.
The European Commission, which monitors EU members' finances, said it would study the budgetary impact of Macron's measures which are expected to cost billions of euros.
“We are monitoring the potential new measures announced, but we cannot comment until they are properly announced and detailed,” said Valdis
Dombrovskis, the commissioner for the euro.
EU economics affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Tuesday said Brussels will closely monitor France's new spending plans, a day after President Emmanuel Macron unveiled new measures to quell violent protests.
“The European Commission will closely monitor the impact of the announcements made by President Macron on the French deficit and any financing arrangements,” Moscovici told AFP.
“We are in constant contact with the French authorities,” added Moscovici, who was attending a plenary session of European Parliament in Strasbourg.
'I share responsibility'
Macron's speech from the Elysee Palace was presented as a decisive moment for the president.
A sombre-looking president told the nation, “I accept my share of responsibility” for the crisis.
The former investment banker struck a more humble tone than usual as he sought to address criticism of his style of leadership.
“I know that I have hurt some of you with my statements,” he said.
Macron stressed, however, that the protests by mostly low-income people in small town or rural France were the result of long-term problems.