French and Riviera News Thursday 24th March 2022


Ferry made available to accommodate Ukrainian refugees - In response to a call from the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi, a Corsica Linea ferry is to be made available from March 29th in the port of Marseille to accommodate up to 1,600 Ukrainian refugees. On board, specific arrangements will be made to welcome the refugees "in the best conditions". The operation is financed by France’s Ministry of the Interior and is part of several actions of solidarity to help Ukrainian refugees arriving in the region along with projects for education, training and employment.

In mid-March, the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi had called for solidarity, explaining that Nice and the Alpes-Maritimes, is "first department" in France to welcome refugees from Ukraine. More than 3.6 million people have fled Ukraine.

French lessons - Meanwhile in Nice almost 800 Ukrainians have been enrolled in French courses. The lessons have been organized in the former Saint-Roch hospital and are for Ukrainian children, adolescents and adults.

Standing ovation – It was on Wednesday that the President of Ukraine was given a standing ovation by the French National Assembly as he began his address to deputies by video link. In his speech Zelensky compared the Ukranian city of Mariupol to the ruins of Verdun in the First World War. He expressed his thanks to France, saying that President Macron "is showing real leadership". He said that he hoped that under the French Presidency, the EU would take a "unique and historic decision" to admit Ukraine. He also named several French companies he said must withdraw from the Russian market as "values are worth more than profits".

TotalEnergies’ - Meanwhile the chief executive of TotalEnergies' said on Wednesday that the French giant could not stop buying Russian natural gas in retaliation for Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, arguing it would force a partial economic shutdown in Europe. The company had announced on Tuesday that it would stop buying Russia's oil and petroleum products by the end of this year, the latest of several multinationals to halt or curtail their operations in the country.

In other news

Body of Yvan Colonna repatriated to Corsica – The body of independence activist Yvan Colonna has been repatriated to Corsica, the funeral is scheduled for tomorrow Friday 25th March. After almost three weeks in a coma, Colonna died on Monday evening, at the age of 61, in hospital in Marseille.

Forest fire - A forest fire has broken out in Salernes in the Var. 3,000 square meters of vegetation went up in smoke on Wednesday as firefighters managed to control the blaze by late afternoon.

Covid - France has reported 91 deaths from covid in the past 24 hours as the circulation of the virus is increasing and the number of people being hospitalised stagnates in both the Var and the Alpes Maritimes. Figures published on Wednesday evening by the Public Health France show the daily average of covid cases over one week currently stands at 104,176 rising once again above the 100,000 mark.

Monaco - In Monaco on Wednesday 97 new cases of covid were identified bringing the total number of residents affected to 10,369. Fifteen people are in hospital and 272 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Vaccination - Meanwhile vaccination with the Nuvaxovid vaccine from NOVAVAX has begun in the Principality as the Monaco government invites people who wish to get this vaccine to contact the Covid-19 Call Centre on Monaco, which can be reached 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or online on the website: https: //


Asian markets have fallen this morning and oil prices have risen as investors weighed the latest developments in the Ukraine war and US Federal Reserve officials signalled that the central bank is ready to take more aggressive action to tackle inflation. On Wednesday, the Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country will now seek payment in roubles for gas sold to what he called “unfriendly” countries. Crude futures rose on the news while the bond market paused for breath retreating from a near 3 year peak overnight. On the currency markets, the yen is still in the doldrums after hitting a 6 year low against the dollar on Wednesday while the euro is steady and the price of gold has fallen slightly.

Oil prices have risen again this morning amid concerns over supply following reports of storm damage at a major export terminal on the Black Sea. Brent Crude was up by 0.9 percent a little earlier to 122 dollars 66 with West Texas Intermediate up 0.7 percent at 115 dollars 68. Both benchmarks have risen steeply this week with Brent up by more than 14 dollars a barrel as fears over supply disruptions intensify