French President Emmanuel Macron will unveil his long-awaited response to nearly six months of humiliating street protests Thursday as he lays out reform plans that could prove decisive for his political future, reports FRANCE 24.
Macron swept to power in 2017 on hopes he would be a youthful breath of fresh air for France.
But over the past six months, the momentum has been thoroughly knocked out of his presidency following the emergence of the anti-government "yellow vest" movement which has held weekly protests against social inequality.
Thursday evening's address, scheduled for 1600 GMT, will see Macron holding his first-ever full domestic news conference at which he will outline a series of reforms drawn up after a vast listening exercise launched in response to the protests.
He is expected to announce a series of important but not revolutionary measures, including tax cuts for the middle classes and the re-evaluation of small pensions -- both of which were among the demands of the yellow vest protesters.
But most of the reforms are already known after leaks to the press, including the likely closure of the ENA administration school which has become a direct feeder for the French elite.
Macron will likely give a brief 20-minute address which will outline "several approaches and a direction" in response to the crisis, then he will take questions from French and foreign journalists, aides said.
The entire exchange will be broadcast live.
Macron, who will be surrounded by members of his cabinet, knows he has to "act very quickly to set out a calendar" for the reforms which will be announced, said government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye.