Yellow Vests: Emmanuel Macron Tries to Calm the Anger … Without Convincing

Finance General News

In announcing a series of social measures, Smic and pensions, the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron tried to convince the Yellow Vests. Without achieving it?

Emmanuel Macron attempted Monday, December 10, 2018 to calm the anger of the “yellow vests” , he found “just in many ways”, announcing a series of social measures , including Smic and pensions , during a highly sought after “address to the Nation”.

“My only concern is you. My only fight is for you, “said the head of state concluding his speech of nearly 13 minutes.

This speech, delivered at the Elysee, was presented as decisive for the president, facing the most serious political crisis since the beginning of his five-year period 18 months ago.

“This time, there is really a breakthrough”

He was often greeted with disappointment by the “yellow vests” being questioned on television sets or on busy places in several regions. If some recognise “gestures”, they deem them “insufficient” or “incomplete” to stop the fight.

“This time there is really a breakthrough. As he spoke, I had a smile that was growing, “said Erwan, one of the spokespersons of the” yellow vests “of Rennes.

But, for Pierre-Gael Laveder, protesters in Montceau-les-Mines (Saone-et-Loire), “Macron did not take the measure of what was happening.”

“Each point was booed and the first reaction was: “We do not care about your mouth”.

"Yellow Vests": main announcements of Emmanuel Macron
“Yellow Vests”: main announcements of Emmanuel Macron. (© AFP /)

To respond to their anger, Emmanuel Macron announced that employees at the Smic would receive a rise of 100 euros per month “without it costing one more euro for the employer.”

This increase of 100 euros per month “includes the increase of Smic already planned, then said the Minister of Labour, Muriel Pénicaud.

“The rest is going to be the solidarity, the budget of the state, which will allow to supplement these wages without having an additional load for the companies”

Retirees earning less than € 2,000 a month will be exempt from the CSG increase, he added, responding to one of the main complaints of “yellow vests”. “The effort that was asked of them was too important and was not right,” he said.

In addition, overtime will be paid “without taxes or charges from 2019” and companies “who can” are invited to pay a premium year-end, which will also be tax-free and no payroll.

“No indulgence”

Returning to the reasons for the crisis, the head of state spoke of “40 years of malaise that resurface” and said he felt “as just in many ways” the anger of “yellow vests”.

He again sketched a mea culpa on his attitude, recognizing that he had “hurt some of you by my words.”

For a month, the “yellow vests” have been calling for “Macron resignation”, sometimes claiming their “hatred” of a president deemed “arrogant” and “disconnected” from the life of the French.

Emmanuel Macron came out of his silence after more than a week out of sight during which he left Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in the front line.

The urgency of the executive is now to try to avoid an “act V” of the protest while calls to demonstrate are already launched on social networks for December 15.

Act IV gathered some 136,000 protesters on Saturday and resulted in a record number of arrests, more than 320 injuries and more damage in many cities, particularly in Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse.


“These “inadmissible violence (…) will not benefit from any indulgence.”

In total, 4523 arrests throughout the territory since the act 1 of the movement of “yellow vests” on November 17, was learned Monday from police sources. They resulted in 4,099 police custody.

Growth at half mast

Before giving his speech, Emmanuel Macron received for four hours at the Elysee representatives of the forces of the country, who had regretted to be ignored since the beginning of the five-year period. He listened to them affirm their priorities.

With the crisis, the executive is largely reviewing its government and parliamentary program from January. Thus, the consultation sessions on the pension reform planned at the end of December have been postponed to January.

Already, the crisis will lose 0.1 point of growth to France in the last quarter of this year, said Bruno Le Maire. The Banque de France halved, at 0.2% against 0.4% previously, the growth rate of French GDP for the fourth quarter.

“Macron has moved. A little. Too few “

On the right as on the left, the first reactions of the opposition were rather negative.

For Benoît Hamon, “the fight pays off. Macron moved. A little. Too few. Because the account is not there. The increase in the SMIC by the reduction of employee contributions means that social security will finance the increases “.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI) pointed out the “reality well believed” that “all the measures announced” will be “paid by the taxpayers and the social insured, none by the big fortunes, nor the profits”.

“The act V of the beginning of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization”, according to him.


On the right, Eric Woerth (LR) considered that they were “short-term answers, necessary purchasing power, but with their share of injustice”.


“He moves back to better jump,” said AFP Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally.

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