It is French President Emmanuel Macrons job to dampen the Yellow Jackets protests that have hit the country for four weekends and weakened its economy, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL radio today.
His comments came after the French central bank cut the countrys growth forecast for the final quarter to 0.2 percent, down from an earlier estimate of 0.4 percent, Reuters reported.
The economic slowdown is a “reality for our businessmen, entrepreneurs, its the reality for those whose shops were vandalized, looted, in the most violent way,” Le Maire said. “And its a reality too for our foreign investors.”
Macron will attempt to placate protestors this evening, addressing the nation after meeting with union leaders and employers groups.
Ahead of Macrons address, Le Maire said France is “deeply divided” and “it is the presidents role to unify the country.”
The finance minister added that Macron should tax tech companies to reduce Frances poverty and debt.
“If you want to hunt for money, go knocking on the doors of digital tech companies,” Le Maire said. “It is time they paid a fair level of tax.”
Separately, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio on Sunday that security services would investigate whether Russia was stirring up the Yellow Jacket protests online.
About 120,000 French police, military security and firefighters responded to the protests this Saturday.