Macron promises consultations to appease fuel price protesters

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron has issued his first major response to public anger over fuel tax hikes in France, insisting they were essential for combating pollution and vowing measures to appease the country’s “Yellow Vest” fuel price protesters.
Speaking to a new council on climate issues on Tuesday, Macron promised a wide-ranging consultation process with protesters and other stakeholders over the next three months that would seek “pragmatic solutions as close to the ground as possible.” Macron said the consultations could yield measures such as tying planned tax rises to oil market prices so that citizens would not be too hard-hit by global rises in the price of oil. France’s controversial fuel tax increases — a 4-cent hike on petrol and a 7-cent hike on diesel, according to French ministers — are due to take effect in January. Further increases are expected until 2022.
The country has seen 10 days of protests and blockades against the tax hikes. Demonstrators wearing yellow safety bibs engaged in large-scale protests across the country on two consecutive Saturdays, with violent scenes taking place in central Paris this weekend. — dpa