French and Riviera News Friday 3rd December 2021

News

The Alpes Maritimes extends the obligation to wear a mask - Faced with a deteriorating health situation the Alpes-Maritimes region has extended the obligation to wear a mask until Monday December 20th, 2021.The obligation to wear a mask affects anyone aged 11 and over. Wearing a mask is now also mandatory indoors in all establishments open to the public, including those where the sanitary pass is mandatory.

French Prime Minister announces new Defense Council meeting on Monday - French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that a new Defense Council meeting will be held on Monday the 6th December, to see if additional measures are needed in the face of the current health situation. Castex made the announcement while on his first outing since being in quarantine after contracting covid. Accompanied by the Health Minister Olivier Véran, on an official visit to a hospital in Angoulême, the Prime Minister joked that it was "thanks to his daughter's kindness that he had contracted covid". The Prime Minister had been vaccinated and reportedly suffered "mild symptoms".

Electricity - According to a public report published by the Energy Regulatory Commission the (CRE) the electricity provider Enedis is planning to charge for metre readings in households that have refused to install a "Linky meter". The CRE plans by 2025 to charge up to 5.33 euros per month or about 64 euros per year. Enedis estimates that this concerns 1.2 million customers. Enedis consider that its technicians will have to carry out "visits on foot, which will generate travel costs for example". In all, nearly 34 million meters have already been installed, or 90% of households.

Motorway charges are expected to increase by 2% on average on 1st February - Tariffs for the main motorway networks in France are expected to increase by an average of 2% on 1st February 2022. The increases come after an increase of 0.44% in early 2021. The French government has yet to formally approve these new tariffs.

School bullying - The French parliament has voted to make school bullying a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison. The proposed law was supported by Emmanuel Macron's education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer who said the law sent a strong message to society that "we will never accept the lives of our children being shattered". As many as one in 10 French children are estimated to have been affected by bullying.

Second vote today for head of the Republican party - The first round of the vote for the candidate of the head of the Republican party in France has taken place and today Friday December 3rd, will see a second and final vote decide between two candidates: local MP for the Alpes Maritimes region Eric Ciotti and Valérie Pécresse. Ciotti has gone from an outsider to the surprise top position in Thursday's first round while Pécresse, head of the Paris region, has defined herself as "two-thirds Angela Merkel and one-third Margaret Thatcher".

Migrant crisis in the English Channel - France has refused "joint patrols" with Britain concerning the migrant crisis. French Prime Minister Jean Castex rejected the proposal from the UK on Thursday, saying that France "cannot accept the British police or military patrol its shores adding our sovereignty is at stake". Boris Johnson had made the proposal during a telephone conversation with Emmanuel Macon on November 25th.

Business

Like many countries worried about the spread of the Omicron variant, the United States is in turn announcing new restrictive rules on entry into its territory, barely a month after having reopened its borders to foreign travellers. From Monday 6th December the US will require that all foreign travellers entering the territory present a negative test carried out in the day before departure, in addition to being vaccinated (against 3 days currently for vaccinated). Domestic flights remain exempt from these health requirements for the time being. Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the United States would evaluate its policy of closing the borders "week after week" in the face of the new variant.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has announced the launch of the accelerated review of the Covid vaccine at the Franco-Austrian laboratory Valneva, with which the European Commission has reached an agreement of up to 60 million doses by 2023. It usually takes a few months for vaccines to move from review to authorization, although some, such as those developed in Russia and China, have been waiting longer. At present, "it is the only inactivated virus vaccine candidate to be the subject of clinical trials" against Covid-19 in Europe. The deal was good news for the company, which was shaken in September when the British government terminated a contract for 100 million doses, which was at the time its only order.

Eurostat has announced that the unemployment rate in the euro zone continued its decline in October, affecting 7.3% of the working population, after 7.4% in September and 7.5% in August. The rebound of the European economy since the spring, after the shock linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, has led to an upturn in the labour market. Youth unemployment is now close to the historically low levels reached in late 2019 and early 2020, before the start of the Covid pandemic. By country, and for the population as a whole, the lowest unemployment rates in October were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.6%), the Netherlands (2.9%), Germany (3.3%) and Poland (3.4%). Conversely, the share of unemployed was highest in Spain (14.5%), ahead of Greece (12.9%), Italy (9.4%), Sweden (8.7%) and France (7.6%).

The head of the Aéroports de Paris Augustin de Romanet, has said that comments made on Thursday December 2nd, by the CEO of the SNCF Jean Peirre Farandou, were "out of place". Speaking to French media on Thursday Farandou had said that "It was not the train that was too expensive, it was the plane that was not expensive enough" adding his surprise at" air transport not being sufficiently taxed on ecological criteria". Romanet insists that the two modes of transport are complementary and that the "quarrels over the modes of transport would be unproductive".

According to the latest Odoxa Economic Barometer the French still have a bad image of capitalism but welcome the progress made by companies since the beginning of the health crisis. The assessment is not new and has not really changed since the health crisis: the hatred of capitalism remains deeply rooted in France. It showed that 62% of French people have a bad opinion of capitalism, compared to 37% who have a good opinion.

Sport 

Football - Cristiano Ronaldo has made history, become the first player to score 800 top-level career goals when he struck twice for Manchester United in a 3-2 win over Arsenal on Thursday night. Meanwhile Tottenham beat Brentford 2-0.

In the Premier League this weekend. On Saturday West Ham play Chelsea, Newcastle against Burnley, Southampton are at home to Brighton, Wolverhampton play Liverpool and Watford against Manchester City. On Sunday Leeds are at home to Brentford, Manchester United play Crystal Palace, Tottenham play Norwich and Aston Villa play Leicester.

Tennis - The ATP has been criticised for not joining the WTA in suspen