How Recent Riots in France Are Causing Economic Concerns in the Region

In France, ongoing riots are proving to be difficult for the nation’s struggling economy, according to The Independent. With worker unrest continuing, the citizens of the European nation are acting out against France’s economy.

“Workers sabotaged power networks, lorry drivers blocked motorways, trains stopped running, schools shut down and even the Eiffel Tower was off-limits to visitors, as nationwide action against proposed pension reforms entered its third week in France,” according to the article.

The riots came about as “discussions between unions and the government failed to break the deadlock,” as noted by The Independent. These are also, notably, the most extreme strikes that France has seen in decades.

As a result of the strikes, France is seeing Christmas travel negatively affected. Even so, public opinions of the strike are mostly positive, according to the article. “The most recent poll showed 62 per cent of people support the strikes – up three points from a similar poll last week,” as stated by the article.

“The majority of French people support the action because they are not fooled,” said Danielle Simonnet, a member of the Paris city council, in an interview with The Independent. “They know that with these reforms we will all lose.”

In fact, the mass protests included over 500,000 people marching the streets of Paris as citizens were calling for “President Emmanuel Macron to drop plans to introduce a universal pension scheme.” The reforms, according to The Independent, “were one of Macron’s flagship election promises, which he claims are necessary to revitalise France’s economy.”

The reason that workers in region are unhappy? They call it a “betrayal” of their rights because employees will actually take home less money. Under the proposal, many workers will need to grow into “a new ‘pivot age’ of 64 [which would start] forcing people to work an extra two years to receive a full pension.”

“Many other frustrations are added to the anger against pensions: the government has never really responded to the yellow vests; public hospitals are fighting to survive; teachers feel abandoned; students live in poverty; there is police violence; marches for the climate are ignored,” Simonnet said in the interview with the publication.

The riots have affected commerce in Paris as a result. According to Forbes, “December accounts for between 10% and 20% of annual retail sales.” But all’s not completely bad right now for France’s economy.

As noted by Forbes, “Julien Pouget, head of the economic department at INSEE (France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) said there shouldn’t be panic over the impact of France’s current strikes.” He added, “the French economy is used to strikes and at every turn, French gross domestic product (GDP) which measures a country’s economic activity, has rebounded after a short dip.”