(CNN)French President Emmanuel Macron has revealed long-awaited plans to alleviate nearly half a year of street protests that have sucked the oxygen out of his presidency and cast his political future into doubt.
Macron pledges tax cuts in effort to assuage Yellow Vests
Speaking at the Élysée presidential palace on Thursday after a monthslong national listening tour aimed at addressing the demands of the "Yellow Vest" movement, Macron laid out a series of reforms to tackle social inequity in the country.
The policy measures loosely outlined by Macron included "significantly" reducing income taxes for workers in France, cutting the size of the country's infamously bloated civil service, a greater investment in early childhood education, reforming the pensions scheme and more decentralization of government.
"I want to assign a simple purpose to this new era of our Republic: give hope back to everyone, by asking everyone to give the best of himself. This is how we will be able to rebuild together, very profoundly, what I call the art of being French," Macron said in his first full press conference with French media to date.
He also vowed to press on with "essential transformations" already in progress and pledged to restore "public order" after months of sometimes violent unrest.
It seems unlikely that Macron's response to the so-called "great debate" will be enough to assuage the Yellow Vests, who have called on the government to scrap a green tax on diesel, raise the minimum wage, improve public services and roll back tax cuts for the wealthy. Some demonstrators have even demanded that parliament be dissolved and Macron resign.
In his speech, Macron refused to bend to protesters' pleas to reinstate France's notorious wealth tax, which he scrapped off the back of a campaign pledge, but added that it would be reviewed in 2020.
The beleaguered president admitted he had underestimated the expectations France was putting on him when he took office, saying in his speech on Thursday that the anger he felt during town hall meetings across the country was justified.