French politics

Expert Voices

French protests a canary in the coal mine for climate-change policies

Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) protestors shout slogans as material burns during a protest against rising oil prices and living costs near the Arc of Triomphe on the Champs Elysees in Paris
Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) protesting rising oil prices and living costs, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Nov. 24. Photo: Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After three weeks of demonstrations against an increase in gasoline taxes, French President Emmanuel Macron yielded to the Yellow Vest protesters by suspending the hikes for six months.

The big picture: The wealthy countries pushing to address climate change have been seen as best equipped to bear the costs of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables, hence their commitment in the Paris Accord to channel energy transition funding to the developing world. But the French protests and Macron’s response suggest that even developed societies may meet resistance from their more disadvantaged members, who may not be so willing to make sacrifices to their way of life.

Marine Le Pen charged with misusing E.U. funds

Francois Mori / AP

Far-right French politician and presidential finalist Marine Le Pen was officially charged today with "breach of trust." She is accused of using European Parliament money meant to fund parliamentary assistants to pay staffers for her National Front Party instead, per The Atlantic.

Sounds familiar: The allegations had become an issue back in February during the presidential campaign when the European Parliament threatened to withhold her pay — at the time, she said that would not "submit to persecution."

Le Pen's National Front has been unable to secure funding in the past given some of its extreme political stances, notably cozying up to Russia and Vladimir Putin in order to get a loan to keep itself a float.