France’s prime minister on Tuesday suspended planned increases to fuel taxes for six months in response to weeks of sometimes violent protests, the first major U-turn by President Emmanuel Macron’s administration after 18 months in office.
In announcing the decision, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said anyone would have “to be deaf or blind” not to see or hear the anger on the streets over a policy that Macron has defended as critical to combating climate change.
As well as a six-month delay in introducing the carbon-tax increases, Philippe said the period would be used to discuss other measures to help the working poor who rely on vehicles to get to work and go to the shops.
Earlier officials had hinted at possible increases to the minimum wage, but Philippe did not make any such commitment.
He warned citizens, however, that they could not expect better public services and to pay lower taxes, and that therefore compromises needed to be made on both sides.