French and Riviera News Thursday 13th October 2022


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%).

Energy price crisis - The Rivera’s hotels and restaurants are feeling the squeeze from the current energy price crisis and rising inflation. The Côte d'Azur branch of UMIH, that's the federation that represents hotel and restaurant workers, says the sector will need to put prices up by 10% to cover soaring costs. But it says putting up the price of hotel rooms and restaurant meals won't be enough. The sector will increasingly have to look at cutting costs, using cheaper raw materials, and cutting out dishes from menus where the ingredients have become too expensive. Working hours and opening times may also have to be reduced over the winter to help make ends meet.

Extension of tram network - The Nice metropolitan region has agreed to pump an extra €43 million into the extension of the tram network from Nice to Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Cagnes-sur-Mer. The extension, which is due to be completed by 2026, is over-budget and is now expected to cost €328 million - that's up from €285 million.

Children allowed to attend football match in Nice - Two hundred young people under the age of 14 will be in the stands of the Allianz Riviera in Nice this evening to watch OGC Nice play Slovacko. UEFA has authorized OGC Nice to let children under 14 attend the Europa League Conference, despite it being scheduled to be played behind closed doors. The European Football Confederation had decreed that the match, would be played without a spectator, following the serious incidents that occurred during the Nice-Cologne meeting after clashes outside and inside the stadium left 32 injured, including one seriously.

Sacre-Coeur basilica - After years of controversy Paris’s famous Sacre-Coeur Basilica, a symbol of division between Catholics and republicans who pushed for a separation between church and state, is to be listed as an "historic monument". Paris councillors on Tuesday gave the green light for the state to grant the famous basilica historical recognition, which gives it the highest level of protection and allows for the financing of possible works.  At the top of the Montmartre hill in the north of Paris it is a must-see for tourists, with nearly 11 million visitors each year.

Warmer temperatures for the weekend and next week - Météo-France has announced that the coming week promises to be "warmer than