French and Riviera News - Thursday 21st April 2022


Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have clashed in last night’s live TV debate. The two candidates confronted each other on the cost of living, Russia, climate change and immigration.

Spiralling prices of energy and everyday costs at the supermarkets have dominated the campaign. Ms Le Pen said 70% of the French people believed their standard of living had fallen over the past five years and she would be the president of civil peace and national brotherhood. Mr Macron said France had known unprecedented crisis, with Covid followed by war in Europe, and that he had steered France through those challenges and aimed to make France a stronger country. Sunday's vote, he said, was a "referendum on Europe, on secularism, and a moment of clear choice"

Marine Le Pen was challenged on her close ties to the Kremlin and for taking a Russian bank loan for her party, but she warned strongly that giving Ukraine weapons could make France a "co-belligerent".

On Europe, Marine Le Pen talked about making changes from within, yet the President argued that her idea of a "Europe of nations" would spell the end of the EU and that she was selling a lie". She struck back with a pledge to put money back in the pockets of millions of French made poorer during his five-year presidency.

On the retirement age, Marine Le Pen said Macron’s proposal to raise it from 62 to 65 was utterly intolerable, although she was accused by her rival of making generous promises without explaining how she would pay for it.

On the environment, the two candidates seem to be diametrically opposed on the strategy for renewable energy, with Le Pen accused of neglecting the potential of natural sources like wind turbines and relying too heavily on nuclear energy. Le Pen challenged the President’s dependance on importing good from thousands of miles away, when producing more locally would help tackle global warming.  In one of the more animated exchanges, Le Pen was as accused of being a climate sceptic while in turn Macron was accused of being a hypocrite.

A snap poll conducted for the BFM TV channel showed that 59% of respondents found Macron the more convincing of the two, however it was not clear how that would translate into voting intentions on Sunday


Melenchon bids to be prime minister

Jean-Luc Mélenchon has made a bold request to French voters to elect him 'as prime minister'

Speaking for the first time since his 10 April defeat, Mélenchon appeared on BFMTV to launch his campaign to win the election’s “third round” and make him a housemate to the future tenant of the Elysée Palace.

The move, he said, would resolve the paradox for the 49 percent of voters who felt they had no real choice in Sunday's election runoff.  

He urged voters to elect a majority of MPs from his party, La France insoumise,”. Under the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, a parliamentary majority would oblige the future President to appoint Mélanchon Prime Minister and share power.

During his TV appearance, which comes five days before the standoff, Mélenchon reminded voters it was the prime minister and not the president who signed off on government decrees.


Diplomatic Corps

The announcement by the government that it is getting rid of the diplomatic corps in France as part of its public sector overhaul has sparked concern from diplomats and politicians, especially in light of the Ukraine crisis.

Diplomats will no longer be sourced from the French ministry for Foreign Affairs as is currently the case. Instead, they will be hired from different backgrounds in both the public and private sectors.

Diplomats have also expressed their concern that field intelligence will be lost and the nominations for top jobs will become politicised, as is often the case in the United States.



Forth Vaccine Opportunity

The city of Nice has opened up a fourth anti-Covid vaccine dose to those aged sixty years or older. If six months have passed since your last booster shot, you are invited to the city's dedicated vaccination centres to be treated. While Nice has kept its dedicated vaccination centres open, Antibes and Grasse have chosen to administer further doses through the network of doctors and pharmacists.


Cannes Film Festival

In Cannes, the Town Hall has begun accepting entries from residents to attend Film Festival screenings. One entry form per person can be registered on the city's website until May 14th, with the draw taking place on May 16th.


The Official poster for the 75th Cannes Film Festival has just been released, and it pays tribute to the iconic film « The Truman Show ».

First released in 1998, “The Truman Show” stars Jim Carrey as a man who has spent his entire life unknowingly raised as the subject of a 24/7 reality show. The Cannes poster captures a moment from the clima