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French Opposition Parties Tell Macron To Abandon Carbon Tax Increase

Financial Times

French opposition party leaders demanded the scrapping of a planned increase in fuel taxes after a day of talks with prime minister Edouard Philippe intended to defuse anti-government protests that erupted into violence over the weekend.

In a sign of the gravity of the crisis facing President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Philippe held separate meetings with party heads on Monday ahead of an emergency debate in parliament on Wednesday and possible concessions to prevent further violence.

With the exception of the Greens, opposition leaders called on the prime minister to abandon, at a minimum, plans to raise taxes on petrol and diesel by 2.9 cents and 6.5 cents a litre from January. Members of Mr Macron’s party, La République en Marche, are expected to convey the same message to Mr Philippe on Tuesday.

Demonstrations by the gilets jaunes, or yellow vests, against rising fuel prices have spiralled into nationwide anti-government protests, which showed no sign of abating. On Monday, striking students closed down 100 high schools and rising fuel shortages were reported in some parts of the country because of blockades at depots.

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