French and Riviera News Monday 12th December 2022


Corruption scandal - Four people have been charged in an investigation into suspected bribery at the European Parliament by a Gulf state. Greek MEP and European Parliament Vice President Eva Kaili was among those previously arrested in the case. Prosecutors suspect the Gulf state tried to influence parliament decisions with donations of money or gifts. Local media have reported that the accused country is Qatar, which the Qatari government has denied. Watchdogs and opposition MEPs have said it could be one of the biggest corruption scandals the European Parliament has ever seen. Up to €600,000 of cash was seized by Belgian police in 16 searches in Brussels. Computers and mobile phones were also taken in order to examine their contents. A total of six people were detained for questioning, two of whom have since been released.

Clashes with police following Morocco’s qualification into the semi-finals of the World Cup - At least 170 arrests have been made in France on Saturday evening following Morocco’s qualification for the semi-finals of the World Cup. About 20,000 people had gathered on the Champs-Élysées, according to the Paris police headquarters. Of the 100 people arrested, 80, including 23 minors, were taken into custody in the capital. According to police, 19 police officers were slightly injured. Elsewhere in France, 70 people were arrested.

Ukraine support conference - French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken on the phone this Sunday with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, ahead of the new “Ukraine support conference” to be held in Paris on Tuesday. The international conference will bring together officials from 47 different countries and the UN Secretary General and plans to meet Ukraine's needs to get through the winter, and work with French companies that are involved in the reconstruction of the country.

The conference comes after the remarks of Emmanuel Macron who underlined at the beginning of December that it would be necessary to give "guarantees" to Russia to find a good balance, once the war in Ukraine is over. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that an agreement would be necessary "ultimately" to end the conflict in Ukraine, while expressing doubts about the "trust" that Moscow can grant. Meanwhile according to the Washington Post, the United States has asked Ukraine to remain open to peace negotiations.

Body of a young man discovered in Villeneuve-Loubet - The body of a young man has been discovered in Villeneuve-Loubet. Police discovered the man lying dead on his scooter on the edge of a path between the railway and the RN7, not far from the Parc de Vaugrenier on Sunday afternoon shortly after 1pm. An investigation has been opened, police believe that it could have been a hit and run incident.

Landslide on road to ski resorts - The region’s road to local ski resorts remained closed on Sunday due to a landslide in the Tinée on Friday evening. There was disappointment for many wishing to head off on Friday for the opening of the ski resorts this weekend following the landslide. Work is still in progress to reopen the road, in what has been described by authorities as a “complex operation”. In the meantime to secure the area, diversions have been set up to access the ski resorts of La Colmiane, Isola 2000 and Auron, adding an extra hour and a half to your journey. Buses are running leaving from the Arenas tram stop in Nice.

Eric Ciotti is elected as president of the Republican party - Local MP Eric Ciotti has been elected as the new president of the Republican party. Ciotti reacted to his election on Sunday evening by saying that “only the right-wing Republican party can redress France" and called for "a right of intelligence opposing communication which has until now lacked any action."

Crime is in sharp decline in the Alpes-Maritimes - Crime in the Alpes-Maritimes is in sharp decline. That's according to the latest official figures presented by interior minister Gérald Darmanin on a visit to Nice and Cannes. According to the stats, over the past three months, incidents of theft and violence are down by 10% and violence on public transport is down by 40%. That's in sharp contrast to the national figures, which show a 16% increase in violence.

Monaco urges transport users to wear a mask - The Monegasque government has urged public transport users in the principality to wear a mask again. Masks are strongly recommended on Monaco's bus network and on trains. The government said the recommendation was not just to protect each other against coronavirus, but also flu and brionchiolitis, all of which are spreading rapidly at the moment.

French Grand Prix - It appears that the possibility of a return of the F1 French Grand Prix in Le Castellet in the Var is over, as the company