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Macron's protest concessions blow a hole in France's budget

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:15s - Published < > Embed
Macron's protest concessions blow a hole in France's budget

Macron's protest concessions blow a hole in France's budget

French President Emmanuel Macron doesn't know yet if his concessions will quell the anti-government protests that have gripped France.

What is more certain is that they'll blow a multi-billion euro hole in his budget that could set Paris on a collision course with Brussels.

David Doyle and Richard Lough report.

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Macron's protest concessions blow a hole in France's budget

France's anti-government protests are looking more and more costly for Emmanuel Macron.

Not only has the central bank said the at-times-violent demonstrations are damaging the economy, but the French president's concessions, announced late Monday (December 10), have also blown a multi-billion euro hole in the French budget.

And he doesn't even know, yet, if they'll douse the flames of public anger.

Across the country on Tuesday (December 11) it was the turn of the students - marching over educational reforms, but also fitting into the broader dissatisfaction expressed by the gilets jaunes, or yellow vest movement.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) STUDENT, CLEMENTINE, SAYING: "We are protesting because we are not able to make ourselves heard." On Monday (December 10) Macron put his hand in his pocket - pledging to increase the minimum wage and roll back on a tax hike for some pensioners.

Reuters Richard Lough is in Paris.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF, FRANCE, RICHARD LOUGH, SAYING: "The initial read-out from the gilets jaunes is that they're a step in the right direction, but they may be inadequate on their own.

You have to remember that this is not a unified group that rallies behind a single leader.

It's a grassroots movement that erupted on social media.

Some today have come out saying 'sure, it's time for a truce with the government', others have said they want to continue their fight to the bitter end." For them, that would be Macron's resignation.

But even if he survives these political difficulties, he still faces financial ones.

The government says his concessions will cost some 8-10 billion euros - and that's on top of a 4 billion euro hole already left in the budget after Macron scrapped a fuel tax hike - the original trigger for the unrest.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF, FRANCE, RICHARD LOUGH, SAYING: "At face value, this will almost certainly push France's deficit over a cap of 3 percent on GDP imposed by the European Union.

What does this mean?

Well it could set Paris on a collision course with Brussels, just as the EU is in budget negotiations with Italy over its own numbers." But there is some positive news for the president: a poll on Tuesday (December 11) showed almost half of French people now think the gilets jaunes should give up their action.




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