(BBG) France’s Macron to Address Nation With Plans to Quell Discontent

(BBG) By Geraldine Amiel14 de abril de 2019, 18:02 WEST Updated on 14 de abril de 2019, 20:05 WEST

  •  President will unveil measures to appease discontent on Monday
  •  He’s also planning a rare press conference on Wednesday

French President Emmanuel Macron plans to address the nation Monday evening to announce a set of measures following a 10-week national debate devised to assuage grassroots discontent and relaunch his presidency, a month ahead of EU elections seen as a referendum on his policies.

Macron will also hold a press conference on Wednesday, his office said in a statement on Sunday. Underscoring the moment’s importance, it’s the first time the president who pledged to keep his distance from the media is doing an ask-me-anything session with reporters at the Elysee palace since taking office in May 2017.

France is waiting for Macron to set out conclusions after a series of debates with citizens, designed to take the heat out of the protests that have roiled the country since mid-November. Some 31,000 Yellow Vests turned out across the nation on Saturday for a 22nd consecutive weekend.

Read more: Macron Gets on Everyone’s Nerves With Brexit Hard Man Act

Having pushed through labor-market changes and other reforms during his first year, Macron is under pressure to restore momentum after a scandal over his bodyguard, a series of verbal gaffes and the resignations of some of his most popular ministers. His approval rating slipped 1 percentage point to 27 percent in an Ipsos poll published last week.

Some of his opponents, notably far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, are casting European Parliament elections in May as a referendum on Macron’s his policies.

What the French Want

Macron was meeting Sunday evening with his Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and his cabinet, to align everyone for the new direction to be unveiled Monday evening, a spokeswoman for his office said.

A decrease in income tax is favored by 82 percent of French people, according to a poll that asked respondents how Macron should react to the movement.

Scrapping privatizations, including the sale of Paris airports operator ADP, was supported by 62 percent of those surveyed in the Ifop poll for Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper. Measures such as linking low-end pensions to inflation, making it obligatory to have doctors in rural areas and scrapping France’s television license fee each garnered at least four-fifths support.

Yellow Vests have already pledged to stage new demonstrations in Paris next Saturday, on April 20.