French and Riviera News Friday 25th June 2021

News 

Delta variant causes concern in Europe - As concerns grow about the Delta variant, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has called for all EU countries to follow their guidelines and impose an obligatory quarantine on visitors from the UK. France’s current policy of allowing fully vaccinated UK travellers to visit without an essential reason is in line with EU guidelines but there are now concerns over the Delta variant.

Speaking on Thursday French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a "seven-day action plan" to fight the delta coronavirus variant in the Landes department in south-west France. The government said that the variant accounts for 70% of new cases in the department. On a visit to the Landes with Health Minister Olivier Veran, the Prime Minister said that the number of vaccines available in the department would be increased from 40,000 to 60,000 doses in the next seven days. Testing will also be increased. He said that at the end of the seven days a decision will be taken on whether or not to ease restrictions in that department on 1st July.

Regional elections - Ahead of the second round of the regional elections in France which will take place on Sunday June 27th, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has shown his support for Republican Renaud Muselier expressing his concerns for the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region. All eyes are on the region this weekend as the far-right National Rally go head to head with the Republicans.

Driving licence deal between UK and France - Details of a new deal concerning driving licenses for UK citizens in France have been revealed. On Thursday June 24th the British government reported that the deal for those living in France with UK licenses would not involve having to take a French driving test. The details reported are as follows: 

If you have been driving on a UK licence that was issued before January 1st, 2021 it will be recognised in France as long as it is within its validity date.

If your licence has already expired or is due to expire you will, when new systems go live, be able to exchange it for a French licence. Once you have applied you will receive an attestation de dépôt sécurisée which you can use to drive in France until the new licence arrives.

If your UK licence was issued on or after January 1st, 2021 you will be able to continue using your licence for up to one year from the date of issue of your residency permit. If you wish to stay longer you must exchange it for a French one, but you will not be obliged to take a French driving test.

Deadline for residency card extended - Meanwhile the deadline to apply for the French residency card has been extended by three months. Britons will now have until September 30th to apply for their card with the website remaining open. All British adults who were living in France by December 31st last year must apply for one of the cards in order to secure their legal right to live and work in France – unless they have an EU/EEA/Swiss dual nationality.

EU leaders fail to reach an agreement - A proposal by France and Germany to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin has been rejected by EU leaders with Poland and Baltic countries saying it would send the wrong message as East-West ties deteriorate.

After U.S. President Joe Biden met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16th, French President Emmanuel Macron said the first EU summit with Putin since January 2014 would be "a dialogue to defend our interests”. But after late night talks at their meeting in Brussels, the 27 EU leaders failed to reach an agreement,

No smoking on the beaches in Monaco - The Monaco government has announced that the beaches of the Principality will be non-smoking during the summer period, from this Saturday June 26th to Thursday September 30th. The measures include the Larvotto beach, which will soon be reopened to the public, as well as the solarium on the digue at the port. They apply to both tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Certain areas, defined by signs, will however be reserved for smokers. Smoking is still allowed on the terraces of restaurants and bars.

Donkeys used to pick up rubbish on beaches of Saint Tropez – Meanwhile the mayor of Ramatuelle in the Var, has introduced donkeys on the beaches of Pampelonne to help remove rubbish. As part of a trial run donkeys have been deployed along the famous beaches near Saint Tropez to pick up everyday waste.

Lady Moura - Moored in Monaco, the super yacht Lady Moura has been bought by a Mexican billionaire. Moored at Port Hercules since April, the legendary yacht built in 1990 has reportedly just found a buyer.

Business

The US Senate has struck an agreement for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in what could be a legislative victory for President Biden. Speaking after a meeting of a cross party group of senators at the White House, Mr Biden said “we have a deal”. The eight year plan includes funding for roads, bridges, the power grid, public transport and the Internet. However, the deal is far from done as it depends if Democrats can pass another bigger spending bill. At the White House on Thursday, Mr Biden praised the group of 5 Republican and five Democratic senators and promised that the deal would generate millions of jobs. He said that the investment is long overdue and that the United States is in a race with China and the rest of the world for the 21st-century. Mr Biden added that the agreement signals to the world that America can function, deliver and do significant things.

The dollar has firmed in Asian trade this morning as investors wait for the latest US inflation data. The dollar jumped to its highest level against the euro since March last week and its highest level against the yen since March 2020 after the Federal Reserve surprised markets by projecting interest rate rises sooner than expected in 2023. Subsequent comments from Fed chair Jerome Powell appear to have calmed nerves in bond and stock markets about rate hikes any time soon but the dollar has held onto its gains and investors are still wary of further rises if inflation is hotter than forecast. Economists are forecasting core consumer prices to have risen by 3.4% in June, a rise even faster than the nearly 3 decade high increase of 3.1% recorded last month.

The UK discount retailer Poundland has said that around 10% of its products are no longer priced at £1. Poundland moved away from pricing everything at £1 in 2017 and now sells some items between 50p and £10. The firm’s owner Pepco says that sales continued to grow in the past six months despite the Covid pandemic. Poundland has 917 UK and Ireland stores. Total revenue across the Pepco business which also includes the European brand Dealz was up by 4.4% to €2 billion, with pre-tax profits in the past six months up from €64 million to €96 million.

Sport

Euro 2020 – The England midfielder Jordan Henderson says that facing Germany in the last 16 of the tournament will be a special game and is an exciting prospect. England host the three-time European champions in front of around 40,000 spectators at Wembley next Tuesday. The match will evoke memories of the Euro 96 semi-final which Germany won on penalties. Henderson says it will be a tough test and England will need to stay focused.

The business end of the tournament starts tomorrow with the first two round of 16 games. Wales play Denmark in Amsterdam at 6 pm tomorrow evening and then it’s Italy against Austria at Wembley at 9 pm.

Formula One – First practice for the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Austria takes place at 11.30 this morning. Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by 12 points heading into the weekend and will be looking to press home his advantage at the team’s home Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton says that he has started negotiations with Mercedes over a new contract to stay with the team beyond this season. The seven time world champion only signed a one-year deal last winter but says discussions are now underway for a new deal and things look positive. Qualifying is at 3 pm tomorrow with the race at 3 pm on Sunday.

Cycling - The 2021 Tour de France starts in Brest tomorrow with the Slovenian duo of Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic set to repeat their dual of last year which saw Pogacar come out on top. The race will unfold over three gruelling weeks ending in Paris on the 18th of July. Geraint Thomas returns this year in search of his second title and in much better form. The Welshman won the Tour de Romandie in May and ended third overall in the Criterium du Dauphine.

Cricket – England have beaten Sri Lanka by five wickets in the second T-20 to win the series with a game to spare. Rain affected the match and England won on the Duckworth Lewis method with Sri Lanka making 111-7 from their 20 overs and the home side reaching an adjusted target of 108 for the loss of 5 wickets from 16.1 overs.

Tennis – The U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem has pulled out of Wimbledon with a wrist injury that he says will leave him sidelined for several weeks. The 27-year-old Austrian retired from a match on Tuesday after hurting his wrist while hitting a forearm. Doctors have advised rest for several weeks.

Weather

Clear skies with light to moderate south easterly winds. Top temperatures 26-30 degrees. Overnight lows of 19-21 degrees with clear skies.

The weekend - Clear skies with highs of 26-30 degrees.

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