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France's President Macron meets with ministers to discuss 2019 reform push

Michel Euler, AFP file picture | In his traditional New Year's Eve address, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to press on with his 2019 reform agenda.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday met with cabinet ministers to lay out his 2019 agenda for reform. Proposals include overhauls of France’s employment benefits and pension system as well as steep cuts in the public sector.

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Macron has vowed to push ahead with the reforms – which he insists are necessary to get the ailing French economy back on track – despite a gruelling year that saw his approval ratings plummet and which were capped by the nationwide “Yellow Vest” protests.

The "Yellow Vest" demonstrations, which were triggered by a tax hike on diesel fuel, grew into nationwide protests against social injustice and forced the government to suspend some of its planned reforms, such as an overhaul of the pension system.

In a bid to make the French feel more involved, Macron has therefore promised to launch a national debate on the proposed changes and will in January send a letter to all French citizens outlining the details of his plans. A national debate will then be held across France over a three-month period.

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