The protests in France continued over the weekend, piling the pressure on President Macron to address the demands of the Yellow Vests and reach a resolution. In the meantime, the protests have caused concerns that the French economy will no be able to sustain its recent momentum. According to Bloomberg, growth will slow by half this quarter, as the impact of the protests on industrial production and services activity is partly to blame.
President Macron is set to speak to France on Monday evening. It is unclear how much will Macron cave to the demands of protestors and what effects if any his words may have. Some of the Yellow Vests expressed deep worries that the current leader may not be able to dig himself out of the hole. It becomes clear – France’s leader has found himself in a no-win situation.
“Macron has left things go for so long now that people are waiting for a grand gesture,’’ said Arthur Goldhammer, a researcher affiliated with Harvard University’s Center for European Studies in a report by Bloomberg. “He finds himself in an impossible situation where he has to admit his errors, not change the substance of his mandate and offer a whole new sequence of priorities.’’
Nicholas Dungan, a Paris-based senior fellow at the Atlantic Council has explained, “You can’t make speeches about defending the international order when your popularity is at 20 percent and there are protesters in the street… It’s very difficult to get your credibility back.”
In addition to the protests and Macron’s troubles, a probe investigating possible Russian Influence on Yellow Vest Riots could be underway. According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, about 600 Twitter accounts, which are known as promoters of Kremlin views have begun trending in France. According to the report, the use of the hashtag #giletsjaunes has been boosted (the French name for the Yellow Vest movement).