French and Riviera News Friday 13th December 2019


Pension reform - France's CGT union has said that there would be no break in transport strikes over the Christmas period unless the government backed down on the pension reform. Speaking to French media on Thursday the union blasted several points of the reform primarily the pension calculation which “will be based on the whole career of an individual and will see some experience a considerable drop in their pension”. French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe outlined the reforms this week confirming that the legal retirement age would remain at 62, but workers would be encouraged to work until 64 through a system of bonuses that would allow a balanced pension budget by 2027.

The CFDT which had until now stayed out of the strikes, said a "red line" had been crossed and that it was calling on members to join mass protests on Tuesday December 17th.

The industrial action will see disruption on the trains, tramline, bus network and schools in the region next Tuesday. It is not yet known how it will impact flights at Nice International airport.

Man shot in Avignon - A 21-year-old man has been shot dead in Avignon. The shooting occurred on Thursday afternoon as the victim was at the wheel of his car. Police have launched an investigation, according to the first elements they believe it to be a settlement of accounts.

Property tax - The president of the Alpes-Maritimes region has announced a drop of 10% in property tax or “taxe fonciere” in 2020 for homeowners in the region. In 2019, the Alpes-Maritimes council had lowered the tax by 5%. Local MP Eric Ciotti said that “while it will only represent a few tens of euros per household” it showed that the tax continues to drop having decreased by 15% in the last two years.  

Waste - Figures published have shown that the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur ranks well below the national average of sorting waste. In 2018, each inhabitant of the region sorted an average of 51.4 kilos of household packaging and paper well below the national average of 70.4 kilos per year per capita.

Accountant found guilty - The criminal court in Nice has sentenced a 39-year-old accountant to a six month jail term with two suspended, for fraud.  The case saw several victims lose money as the woman forged clients’ accounts for her own profit. The self-employed mother of two admitted to forging checks, making up bank statements and providing false accounting drawing up to 10,000 euros a month from her victim’s accounts she reportedly put her behaviour down to her addiction to gambling. The fraud was discovered during a VAT audit.


European summit - The 27 leaders of the European Union have meet in Brussels for their first summit without the United Kingdom. Thursday saw the summit get underway with a protest held by 28 activists from the environmental group Greenpeace, who scaled the front wall of the Europa Building venue before the leaders arrived. On the agenda, was the divisive issue of how to address climate change in the budget.

“Ecocide” rejected by National assembly - France’s National assembly has rejected a socialist bill as part of the French Criminal Code. “Ecocide” was presented as a bill aimed to recognize “deliberate action causing widespread irreversible damage to the ecosystem committed with the knowledge of its consequences”. In response to the decision socialist MP Christophe Bouillon said he regretted the government’s position adding it was an “important case for future generations”.

Real Estate economy in France - The financial authorities in France have recommended to the banks, not to grant mortgages of more than 25 years. Figures show that real estate loans are at a level high in France, with rates at a historic low of just over 1%. The Ministry of the Economy and the Banque de France have shown their concern in a statement published on Thursday asking banking organizations to limit mortgages to 25 years and not to grant loans whose repayments represent more than a third of a household’s income.

2024 Paris Olympics - The organisers of the 2024 Paris Olympics have chosen Tahiti as the location for surfing events, arguing that the waves are more dependable than the French coast, despite being nearly 10,000 miles from the capital. The International Olympic Committee still has to approve the choice, but Paris organisers believe the famous waves in Tahiti mean it would be a more predictable wave site than the Atlantic coast of France. 

The announcement was disappointing for towns competing to host surfing in France, including Biarritz, which hosted the G7 summit this year.


The pound has surged on the foreign exchanges after an exit poll from the UK general election predicted a big majority for Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party.

Sterling gained 2.7 percent against the dollar to rise to 1 US dollar 35-its highest level since May 2018 and against the euro the pound rose to 1 euro 20.5 cents.

Markets consider that a Conservative victory will remove the uncertainty surrounding Brexit with Mr Johnson pledging to take Britain out of the EU by the end of January.

However ,the future still looks uncertain as the British government attempts to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU before the end of the transition period in December 2020.The UK must tell the EU if it wishes to extend the transition phase by June in the event that a deal is not forthcoming within the prescribed period.That still leaves a strong possibility of a no-deal Brexit which could then put further pressure on sterling down the line.

The election looks like having been a disaster for the opposition Labour Party which has been losing swathes of seats to the Conservative in its traditional heartlands.The party is likely to see a change of leadership in the near future although Jeremy Corbyn has said that he will not be stepping down immediately.

The Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has lost her seat in Scotland and is set to resign later today while the Scottish Nationalist Party has seen a surge in support putting the question of a second independence referendum firmly on the map.

In other news today.

President Trump has said that the United States and China are moving close towards signing a trade deal to end the 17 month old trade war.

Mr Trump signed off on a deal to pause the introduction of fresh tariffs on Chinese goods on Thursday.

Washington is said to have agreed to remove some tariffs on Chinese goods while in return ,Beijing would boost purchases of US farm goods.

However ,there remain many other issues to address including intellectual property theft and industrial farm subsidies.

Analysts say that the development is a good starting point but warn that many previous truces have collapsed and are urging caution until a formal announcement or presentation is made.

A deal would represent a victory for Mr Trump who is under political pressure at home with the debate on his impeachment underway in congress.

And-The Australian airline Qantas has picked Airbus jets to fly its ultra long-haul flights .dealing a blow to rival Boeing.

Qantas has selected the Airbus A350-1000  for its planned non-stop Sydney to London service which will be the world’s longest commercial flight.

Qantas has also delayed a final decision on whether to start the Sydney to London route and other long-haul services until March.

The airline has been testing the long-haul flights as part of its “Project Sunrise” plan.


Football-Manchester United topped their Europa League group to move through to the last 32 of the competition thanks to a 4-0 win over AZ Alkmaar last night while Wolves also moved through following a 4-0 win over Besiktas.

Arsenal drew 2-2 at Standard Liege to end top of their group while Celtic lost 2-0 at Cluj but were through anyway.Rangers also made it through as group runner’s up after a 1-1 draw against Young Boys.

In the English Premier League this weekend.

On Saturday Liverpool play Watford.Burnley face Newcastle.Chelsea host Bournemouth.Leicester face Norwich.Sheffield United play Aston Villa and Southampton play West Ham.

On Sunday Manchester United play Everton.Wolves host Spurs and Arsenal play Manchester City.Crystal Palace play Brighton in the A23 derby on Monday.

Formula 1-Ferrari have said that “conversations have taken place” with Lewis Hamilton about him driving for the team.

The Italian outfit stressed that any chances of a deal were very premature but that it was flattered that Hamilton and a number of other drivers had expressed an interest in driving for the team.

Hamilton will be 35 next month and will be going for a record equaling driver’s championship next season.He has said in the past that he would like to drive for Ferrari one day and time may be running out if he’s to fulfill his dream.

Cricket-It’s day 2 of the 1st Test between Australia and New Zealand in Perth.

Australia are still batting in their first innings and had reached 267-4 from 95 overs a little earlier today.Marcus Labuschagne was on 120 not out.

It’s day 3 of the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi.The match has been blighted by rain  with no play possible so far today and Sri Lanka on 263-6 in their first innings.

Rugby Union-There are two games in the European Champions Cup tonight.Harlequins play Ulster in Pool 3 and Racing 92 play Ospreys in Pool 4.


Sunshine and showers with moderate to strong north westerly winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine but windy tomorrow with a high of 19 degrees and 16 degrees on Sunday.
















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