Following a slight lull in protests over the festive season, around 50,000 gilets jaunes (yellow vests) returned to the streets of France in early January. What began in November, ostensibly as a grassroots movement against plans to raise fuel taxes, fast spiralled into widespread social anger levelled at President Emmanuel Macron.
The movement is non-centralized, with no single leader, and the demands put forward by various representatives claiming to speak for the gilets jaunes are accordingly disparate. They range from lowering the retirement age and reintegrating the wealth tax that was repealed by President Macron last year, to controls on immigration and a grand plan for the better insulation of French homes.
What shape can we expect reform programmes and domestic policies to take moving forward?
Has the announcement of a €10 billion spending programme, which would put France in a difficult position with regard to the EU deficit limit, led Macron to lose credibility in Brussels?
And in a nation boasting a long history of popular revolt, how, if at all, do the gilets jaunes protests compare to previous movements?
Emily Mansfield, Country Forecast Director and Europe Analyst, The Economist Intelligence Unit
Professor Philippe Marlière, Professor of French and European Politics, UCL
Quentin Peel, Associate Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House
Chair: Georgina Wright, Senior Researcher, The Institute of Government