PARIS – The economic measures announced by French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised address aimed to quell the so-called “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) protesters could cost the state between 8-10 billion euros ($9.11-11.4 billion) and increase the national deficit, a government spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Benjamin Griveaux announced this initial evaluation during an interview with BFMTV, although without specifying if the sum included the 4 billion euro diesel tax revenue the treasury would no longer collect and was due to be applied in January 2019.
Minister for the Ecological Transition François de Rugy said during an interview with Radio Classique these measures would “initially increase public deficit spending” and justified the measures as an attempt to “restore social peace.”
When asked if these measures implied wavering France’s European commitment to maintaining its deficit in check, Rugy replied that the situation had changed in some European countries, referring to Brexit in the United Kingdom, the Italian government and the rise of the far-right in Germany and Spain.
“Can anyone believe, at European level, that things can continue as if nothing has happened?” Rugy asked.
Until last week, the 2019 public deficit forecast totaled 2.8 percent of French GDP.
According to other government sources contacted by French daily Les Echos, if these measures are not accompanied by fiscal austerity measures, the result could increase French deficit up to 3.6 percent of the nation’s GDP.