GZERO Media logo



Yesterday, the French government suspended a proposed hike in carbon taxes amid a mounting wave of protests and violence across the country.

The about-face is a major defeat for President Macron, who rode to power 18 months ago on the promise to take on France's sclerotic political and economic institutions.

The extent of the defeat and what the decision means for France and the EU more broadly remains to be seen. Here are the two crucial questions to keep an eye on:

Will the pause appease protesters? The protests have been fueled by a deep resentment with the French political system that goes beyond the narrow issue of higher gasoline prices. They may not be so easily quelled. President Macron, once the leader of his own political insurrection, has become a symbol of the establishment. That's a perception that can't be fixed through a minor change in policy, and protests are set to continue this weekend.

What does it mean France and the EU? Mr. Macron's government now faces its own pocketbook problem–it can no longer count on the $3.3 billion in revenue expected from the tax. That will make it tougher for it to bring its budget in line with EU-mandated rules and could force it to delay changes to the pension and housing systems that would boost the economy and benefit the very middle-class citizens who've taken to the streets. Problems at home could also make it harder for Macron to pursue much-needed reforms to the EU that have so far made little progress.

The bottom line: In the coming days, Macron will portray the protesters as an unruly mob intent on sowing disorder; the protesters will paint him as the enemy of the people. This is only the beginning of pitched battle for France's future.

Urbanization may radically change not only the landscape but also investors' portfolios. Creating the livable urban centers of tomorrow calls for a revolution in the way we provide homes, transport, health, education and much more.

Our expert guests will explore the future of cities and its implications for your wealth.

Learn more.

Back in 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump presented his vision for an "America First" foreign policy, which symbolized a radical departure from the US' longtime approach to international politics and diplomacy.

In electing Donald Trump, a political outsider, to the top job, American voters essentially gave him a mandate to follow through on these promises. So, has he?


"A continuing rape of our country."

On the 2016 campaign trail, candidate Trump said that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a 12 country trade deal pushed by the Obama administration — would "rape" America's economy by imperiling the manufacturing sector, closing factories, and taking more jobs overseas.

More Show less

In an op-ed titled "Iran Arms Embargo Reckoning," the Wall Street Journal editorial board argues that ending the UN arms embargo on Iran was a major flaw of the 2015 nuclear deal and questions whether Biden could do anything to contain Iran at this point. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's Henry Rome take out the Red Pen to explain why this discussion misrepresents the importance of the embargo and the consequences for its expiration.

So, the US presidential election is now just days away, and today's selection is focusing on a specific aspect of foreign policy that will certainly change depending on who wins in the presidential contest—namely America's approach to Iran.

You've heard me talk before about the many similarities between Trump and Biden on some international policies, like on China or on Afghanistan. But Iran is definitely not one of those. Trump hated the JCPOA, the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, put together under the Obama administration, and he walked away from it unilaterally. Joe Biden, if he were to become president, would try to bring it back.

More Show less

It almost didn't happen — but here we are again. President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden face off tonight in the final presidential debate of the 2020 US election campaign.

More Show less

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, US President George W. Bush demanded that Afghanistan's Taliban government surrender Osama bin Laden and end support for al-Qaeda. The Taliban refused.

On October 7, US bombs began falling on Taliban forces. NATO allies quickly pledged support for the US, and US boots hit the ground in Afghanistan two weeks later.

Thus began a war, now the longest in US history, that has killed more than 3,500 coalition soldiers and 110,000 Afghans. It has cost the American taxpayer nearly $3 trillion. US allies have also made human and material sacrifices.

More Show less
UNGA banner


Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal

Episode 6: Big cities after COVID: boom or bust?

Living Beyond Borders Podcasts