Confidence restored, Macron revives French reform drive

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 12, 2019 - Duration: 02:03s

Confidence restored, Macron revives French reform drive

As the Yellow Vest protests wane, French president Emmanuel Macron is reviving a drive to reform the country's pensions and benefits.

Julian Satterthwaite reports.


Confidence restored, Macron revives French reform drive

France's president has rediscovered his zeal for reform.

Emmanuel Macron's government setting out planned changes Wednesday (June 12).

In a speech to lawmakers, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said people will be given incentives to work beyond 62, the current retirement age.

Unemployment benefits will be reduced for higher earners.

Taxes will be cut too.

The measures had been put off while France was rocked by mass protests against Macron's administration.

Reuters correspondent Richard Lough was at the National Assembly in Paris on Wednesday.

He says there are two reasons why Macron feels ready to revive his reform plans: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS PARIS CORRESPONDENT, RICHARD LOUGH, SAYING: "The first is the demise of the Yellow Vests protest movement.

Last weekend there were only some 10,000 who turned out on the streets nationwide - drastically down on a peak of 300,000.

The second reason is the European elections.

They're now out of the way.

Macron did indeed come second to the far right of Marine Le Pen, but it wasn't a bad result for Macron.

With those European elections now out of they way, there's really nothing barring the way to the final three years of his mandate." The proposals are likely to be welcomed by international investors.

They've been waiting to see if Macron would deliver on reform promises.

The question is whether the measures will reignite protests: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS PARIS CORRESPONDENT, RICHARD LOUGH, SAYING: "The anger that first gave rise to the Yellow Vests is still there.

For now it's subdued, but it still exists.

Voters still have the same disgruntlement towards Macron - that his policies favor the wealthy, that he's not paying enough attention to workers." French presidents have a history of backing down in the face of street protests, but Macron may not be so easily cowed.

Often criticized as haughty or almost king-like, few think he's short on self-belief.

As he presses ahead, France could be set for a stormy summer.

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