In Numbers: Just how much have the 'yellow vest' protests cost France?

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In Numbers: Just how much have the 'yellow vest' protests cost France?
Photo: AFP

The 'yellow vest' movement that has seen violent protests, road blocks and fuel depot blockades across France is now a month old and the bill that has been left behind is astronomical. Here's a look at the numbers.


After a month of protests by the 'yellow vests' in France, it is unlikely to come as a surprise that the protest movement will end up costing France quite a considerable sum. 
From the concessions being made by the French government in a bid to end the demonstrations by improving spending power for the French people to the money French companies will end up forking out to repair damage from the protests, the final cost of the gilets jaunes movement will be considerable. 
Many might claim that the bill is worth paying given the extra money in the pockets of the country's lowest earners, but no one can argue that the gains have not come at a huge financial cost.
Here's a look at the figures. 

French government to rush through €10 billion worth of concessions for 'yellow vests'Photo: AFP

€10 billion
The package of measures for low-income workers unveiled by French President Emmanuel Macron last week in a bid to end the protests that have rocked France for just over a month could cost up to €10 billion.
This includes a €100 rise in the minimum wage for an estimated five million French households.
In an interview on Sunday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said all single workers without children will have €100 extra each month for those earning up to €1,560 per month. 
Meanwhile single mothers earning up to €2,000 in monthly income will receive the extra €100.
3.2 percent
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has said that France's deficit was expected to increase slightly in 2019 to reach 3.2 percent of GDP, taking into account the measures taken in the face of the crisis.
"But we are careful with government spending, and we are taking a series of measures touching on businesses and spending worth some four billion euros. 
That should allow us to hold the deficit at about 3.2 percent for 2019," instead of the original 2.8 percent goal, he said. 
To mitigate this, the government would limit the reduction in the corporate income tax rate to companies with a turnover of less than €250 million next year, he added.
The package is set to be mostly financed by government borrowing and Philippe has acknowledged that the concessions would mean France will breach the public deficit cap of 3 percent of gross domestic product set by EU rules.
ANALYSIS: France can draw breath but the story of the gilets jaunes is far from overPhoto: AFP
'Tens of millions of euros'
French construction group Vinci, one of France's main motorway operators, has said that the damage caused by the 'yellow vest' protests has resulted in "several tens of millions of euros" in damage. 
"Nearly 250 sites were impacted daily by the actions of protesters," said Vinci Autoroutes, denouncing "considerable damage to equipment and infrastructure."
The motorway operator went on to say that the protests have destroyed 33 emergency vehicles and toll areas, and have caused damage to many roads.
"Whether the repairs are covered by insurance, by the State or by Vinci Autoroutes, it is the community that is penalized by these repeated attacks on public property, which do not benefit anyone," said Vinci.
The company plans to recuperate at least some of the costs lost during the protests by sending a bill to the drivers who went through toll booths for free during the 'yellow vest' demonstrations.
The company plans to identify these drivers using surveillance cameras installed on the tolls and will send the bill in the post.
€2 billion
According to France's National Centre of Shopping Malls (CNCC), the five weekends of 'yellow vest' protests cost the country's consumer industry €2 billion.
One of Paris' biggest department stores Printemps, which was forced to close its doors on the fourth weekend of protests on December 8th, revealed last week that it had lost 25-30 percent in turnover since the beginning of the 'yellow vest' demonstrations. 
"The loss in turnover is colossal and will not be made up for," Pierre Pelarrey, general manager of Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, told Reuters last week. 
Photo: AFP
1.7 percent 
The month-long campaign of nationwide road blockades and weekend protests in Paris, three of which degenerated into destruction and looting, have taken a toll on the French economy.
The central bank halved its fourth-quarter growth forecast for the French economy to just 0.2 percent from 0.4 percent last week, far below the 0.8 percent growth needed to meet the government's full-year target of 1.7 percent. 
"We can't recover this," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL radio.
€10 million
That is an estimated figure for the amount of damage caused by the protests in the French capital. 
During Act IV of the protests which took place on December 8th, the City of Paris said the destruction in the capital was not so concentrated as the previous weekend but was scattered across the city and, overall, caused “much more damage”.
The violence came mostly from small – and some not so small – gangs of hard-right or hard-left urban guerrillas. 
"The sector concerned by the incidents was much larger... With fewer barricades, there was much more dispersion, so many more places were impacted by violence," Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told France Inter radio.
Photo: AFP
During the protests shops were looted in the French capital, their windows smashed, cars torched and barricades burned in the streets.
The previous weekend on December 1st, when similar violence took place, the City of Paris estimated the damage caused as €3-4 million.
According to the Paris City Hall, that bill was three to four times higher than the one from the damage caused on November 24th which was calculated at more than a million euros.
The protests were far calmer during Act V which took place on Saturday. 


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Anonymous 2018/12/18 08:01
It is worse than a third world country.Why the Administration did not anticipate and did something instead of completely surrendering to these anti social elements?It is still not too late.
Anonymous 2018/12/18 07:50
Use the photographs of the "protesters" to recoup the cost off them. A worthy Christmas present for the looters, whoops sorry, "protesters".

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