Four consecutive weekends of violent destabilizing 'yellow vests' protests will inevitably take a negative toll on the economy of France. Forced to close many of its iconic places of interest and major tourist sites, including the Eiffel Tower, France has been impacted by protests over a proposed, then suspended and now scrapped fuel tax.
Taxes of 6.9 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol were slated for January, 2019. However, the French government cancelled the taxes amid continuous protests. Yet, the tax cancellations and the announcement of a freeze on electricity prices for 2019, apparently, were not enough to deter protests this past weekend.
French stability was again jolted by 'yellow vests' protesters, whose numbers were fewer on Saturday than the weekend before, but tempered by some 90,000 French security forces fanned out across France.
That protesters still converged despite a cancellation of the taxes was sufficient to prompt President Emmanuel Macron to call a crisis meeting between government and representatives of the protesters. The meeting would be followed by a presidential address to the Republic sometime later this week, when Macron could outline a new focus of reforms that would stand better with the people.
It is imperative that Macron and the French people strike a balance to quell protests and to maintain stability in France. The widening isolation of the United States (US) under Donald Trump, the uncertainty of Brexit, continuing Russian agitations, a trade war and other events are more than enough to demand the continuity of civility and stability in France. Europe needs it. The world needs it.