Evening Update Thursday 9 December 2021

France is to reform free movement in the Schengen area and tighten controls of EU borders, during its presidency of the European Council starting in January. In a speech today, President Macron said the migrant crisis on the EU's eastern flank showed the need for action.

Macron has faced criticism for not postponing France's EU presidency which could put him in a tricky position if he campaigns for re-election. The EU role could provide a platform for Macron's campaign but also complicate it, if the race is focused primarily on domestic issues such as the economy, security and immigration.

In his speech today, Macron said France’s motto for the EU presidency is “Recovery, power, belonging” - the last word meant to convey the idea of enhancing Europeans' sense of shared belonging to the bloc. This is the first time since 2008 that France will hold the EU presidency.

French movie director Luc Besson has had a charge of rape against him dropped by the Paris court. Reports say the prosecution considered the accusations were unfounded. The 62-year-old director has always denied the charge and asked today that his right to innocence be respected. His accuser, actress Sand Van Roy says she intends to appeal the decision.

Olivier Veran France's Minister of Health has announced that pharmacists, who wish to, can open every Sunday in December and January to vaccinate against Covid-19. Yesterday, more than 650,000 French people received a booster injection, as the latest fifth wave of contamination continues to grow. The Minister said he hoped it will reach a peak by the end of the month if the French limit gatherings and apply a strict respect of barrier gestures over Christmas.

IKEA have announced an official opening date their new store in Nice. Following a site inspection at Saint-Isidore this morning, they say doors at the 24,000 square metre facility will open on the 11th of May next year. And Megarama, one of Frances largest cinema chains, has announced it will open its brand new multiplex, just north of Riquier, this Saturday December 11th. Located on Avenue François Mitterrand the cinema will show the latest movies, including House of Gucci and Stephen Spielberg’s newly released version of West Side Story in French and ‘original version’ English.

Thirty people have been evacuated after a fire broke out this morning at a chemist in a shopping centre in Cannes. Fire-fighters were alerted at 6.30aam after thick black smoke was seen coming from the Leclerc shopping centre located between Cannes and La Bocca. Police are investigating the cause of the fire.

Presidential candidates have been told to exercise basic