French and Riviera News Thursday 13th October 2022

News

French President addresses several issues during interview on national television - French President Emmanuel Macron has addressed several issues during an interview on France 2 on Wednesday evening. Speaking on the war in Ukraine the Head of State said that Ukraine and Russia should return to the negotiating table, but also that he "obviously" intended to continue the dialogue with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. He also announced the upcoming delivery of anti-aircraft defence systems to Ukraine following the multitude of Russian strikes, which have been taking place since Monday. Addressing the fears around a possible Russian use of nuclear weapons and after alarmist statements by US President Joe Biden at the end of September, Macron declared that “the less we talk about it, the less we agitate the threat, the more credible we are”.

Concerning current petrol shortages in France, Macron promised that the situation would "return to normal" "in the coming week". The Head of State again called on the management of TotalEnergies and the CGT to act "responsibly" and did not hesitate to directly target the unions. On Wednesday the French government launched a first requisition of four striking employees at Esso-ExxonMobil to release fuel stocks and supply service stations in the Paris region, but despite this strike action has continued, including at TotalEnergies, due to the lack of progress on wage negotiations.

Poll shows that majority of French people are not confident in government’s handling of strike action - Meanwhile a recent opinion poll has shown that 79% of respondents consider that Emmanuel Macron and the government are “not up to managing the situation correctly”. The survey carried out by the Elabe institute and published on Wednesday shows that nearly two out of three French people are affected by the petrol shortage and while 42% of French people approve of the strike movement 40% disapprove. 51% of French people believe that the government must requisition striking employees to ensure the supply of petrol stations. While 48% of those questioned consider that it should not requisition striking employees, and that the right to strike should be respected.

Property tax - The National Union of Property Owners (UNPI) has published the latest figures on property tax in France. The data shows that an increase in 2022 of 4.7% and in some municipalities, it has soared by more than 20%. Over one year, the property tax increased by an average of 4.7% in the 200 largest cities in France including Marseille (+16%) and Toulon (+5.9%).

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