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Protests in Paris

Travel Tuesday, protestors show their disagreement to the Paris government in 'an attempted siege', agreement to resume power sharing in Northern Irish Assembly from the DUP, and what's happening today.

Travel Tuesday: India

 

Some stats on the most populous country in the world:

Population (2023) 1.42 billion

GDP (2023)  $3.73 trillion

GDP Growth Rate (2023) 6.3%

Average age 28 years

National Animal  Tiger

Coastline Length 6,100km

Tractor blockades are continuing to cause chaos in Paris as protesters show their opposition to what they see as overly stringent environmental regulations, problematic red tape, and low wages. Yesterday, as many as 800 farmers blocked eight entrance points to France’s capital city with tractors and haybales in what some are calling an attempted ‘siege’.

French farmers also claim that government attempts to cut inflation have left them out-of-pocket and unable to transfer cost price increases to the consumer. As The Telegraph notes “trade deal negotiations with South America and imports from Ukraine, for which the EU has waived duties since Russia’s invasion, have fanned discontent around unfair competition”. This comes as the EU also explore measures which would look to ensure 4% of farmland remains fallowed, a policy which has been met with anger by many farmers.

With many farmers around the EU similarly disgruntled at the status quo, some are pondering over the risk of the protests spreading across the bloc. Smaller protests have already taken place in Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

 

The protesters are hoping that their latest efforts will put pressure on Paris to re-negotiate with Brussels. Indeed, over the last few days Macron has appeared to apply some pressure on the EU’s proposed trade deal with the South American Mercosur trading bloc. While the EU’s deal with Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay was reached in 2019, it has not been put into action given environmental concerns. Nevertheless, there is concern amongst many farmers that such a deal would undercut their work if passed.

With the protests causing ever-greater disruptions, yesterday the French PM met with the president of the country’s farming Union. All eyes are now on Macron’s next move vis-à-vis Brussels and the extent to which protests could spread across the continent.

Northern Ireland

The Democratic Unionist Party has agreed in principle to resume power sharing in the Northern Irish Assembly after almost two years of deadlock. The agreement came in the early hours of the morning after Sir Jeffrey Donaldson met with Westminster officials to present a timeline for power-sharing to resume.

Though the exact details of the deal remain unclear, it is understood that the agreement will be contingent on Westminster implementing new legislation.

Ten months ago, the UK government comfortably got their Stormont Brake section of the Windsor Framework through the House of Commons. This served as one of the most important aspects of the revised Northern Ireland Protocol which was agreed by Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen in early 2023 and tries to give NI Assembly members the chance to raise objections to any new EU legislation applying in Northern Ireland.

While it was hoped that an adoption of the Windsor Framework deal would allow for power sharing in Stormont to continue, the DUP’s remained opposed to it, keeping the deadlock in place.

It is hoped that the latest deal will allow for the DUP to return to Stormont and take the next steps in electing a speaker, the pre-requisite of forming a government.

 

Today in Focus

Today’s main event as far as data releases are concerned is Eurozone GDP at 10:00. Here, the market consensus is pointing to a contractionary -0.1% print for quarter-on-quarter output for Q4. Given that Q3 GDP for the bloc came in at -0.1%, another contractionary print would indicate that the Eurozone is in a technical recession. With data out of France this morning showing that the bloc’s second largest economy stagnated in the last three months of 2023, its evident that headwinds remain for the eurozone, as monetary conditions remain at their tightest levels in years. 

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