French and Riviera News Thursday 30th March 2023


Prime Minister to meet with unions next week - French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has said she will meet with trade unions concerning the pension reform next Wednesday but has ruled out the possibility of a delay before applying the reform. On Wednesday the Constitutional Council, announced that it will render its verdict on April 14th on controversial legislation.

France and Switzerland accused of failing to protect the environment - In other news, the European Court of Human Rights has begun hearing cases against the governments of France and Switzerland over their alleged failings to protect the environment. The court must determine whether inadequate climate change action could constitute an infringement of the European Convention on Human Rights. The first case was brought by a collective of Swiss women aged over 75 who say that global warming has damaged their health. The action marks the first time in the history of the European Court of Human Rights that governments have gone on trial over climate policy. The proceedings are likely to take several months.

Vinci wants to install solar panels along the A8 motorway - The boss of Vinci Autoroutes has announced plans to install solar panels along the A8 motorway. The installation of solar panels along the railways and motorways operated by Vinci could produce the equivalent of five nuclear power plants for around 5 billion euros. Vinci Autoroutes operates 4,443 km of motorways, including the Autoroutes du Sud de la France, Cofiroute (towards the Atlantic coast) and Escota (in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region). 

A&E department of Gassin to close at night - The A&E department of Gassin hospital in the Var is to close at night from April 15th. The moves comes due to the lack of staff. Gassin is not the first to have to close at nights, in the last year several hospitals in our region have had to temporarily close due to staff shortages.

Fraud at the covid solidarity funding for businesses - According to the tax administration, 176 complaints have been filed in the Alpes-Maritimes for fraud, concerning aid given to businesses to survive during the covid crisis. The total amount of the fraud amounts to 3.7 million euros. Hundreds of businesses avoided taxes during the covid crisis to benefit from state aid, as Macron declared that "whatever the cost" help was at hand. 54,002 companies benefited from the Covid solidarity fund in the Alpes-Maritimes and nearly 1.2 billion euros were donated.  However, some companies lied about their turnover when filling out their declaration of honour on the tax site in order to open their right to state aid. According to the deputy prosecutor of Grasse for each beneficiary, the debts range from 15,000 to 30,000 euros.

Detention centre - The city of Nice is planning to create a temporary detention centre to deal with the current influx of migrants from the Italian border. The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has written to the interior ministry, offering to make available empty municipal premises to temporarily house migrants who have been served with an order to leave French territory. France is severely lacking in administrative detention centres. Three possible buildings have been identified - although their locations have not been made public. The current detention centre, in the Auvare police station in Nice, has just 40 places and is saturated. The facility is used to detain migrants whose application to stay in France has been rejected, before they are deported. They can be held there for no more than 48 hours.

Cityscoot - Shared scooter hire firm Cityscoot is leaving Nice on Friday after its contract wasn't renewed. Now it's emerged that the firm has been fined €125,000 by France's data protection watchdog. The CNIL found that Cityscoot was gathering too much data from users, by collecting the precise location of each scooter at 30-second intervals during every ride and storing it. The regulator said the historic data about every ride made on the platform was not essential to the proper functioning of the company.

Road-sign thefts - A mysterious spate of road-sign thefts has hit the little Var village of Barjols. Since the beginning of this year, at least seven road signs have gone missing. The Barjols sign at the entrance to the village was the first to disappear - conceivably as a collector's item that can be resold online. But the other stolen signs are more mundane: speed limits, a ban on heavy vehicles, or parking restrictions. The town hall has lodged a complaint against persons unknown with the local gendarmerie.

Competition – Finally, if you head down to the beach in Antibes this weekend, you'll have a chance to see the Riviera's first-ever competition for lifeguard dogs. A local association is organising a water rescue competition on the Salis beach. 21 dogs will be jumping into the water to show off their rescue skills, including searching for a body and a swimming and endurance test. The tests will take place on Sunday from about 9am, with the award ceremony at 4.30pm, ahead of the French championships in the Loire-Atlantique in October. The dogs taking part will be training on the Salis beach in Antibes every second Sunday until June.


High Street retailer Next has said it will put up its prices by less than expected this year. It said it now expected prices to rise by 7% in the spring and summer of 2023, and 3% in the autumn and winter - slightly less than the increases it warned of in January. It said shipping costs were falling and suppliers were charging better rates.

Next has about 500 stores and trades online. It is often considered a good indicator of how the British High Street is doing.

Pimkie has announced 64 store closures and 257 job cuts by 2027. The womenswear retailer said that the "economy plan" is due to "a drop in customers and sales". Pimkie union delegates had warned in early February of the imminence of a job protection plan (PSE), fearing the disappearance of around 500 jobs.

And - Adidas says it is withdrawing a request to the US Trademark Office to reject a Black Lives Matter (BLM) application for a trademark featuring three parallel stripes. The sportwear giant did not give a reason for the reversal. On Monday, Adidas said the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation design would create confusion with its own famous three-stripe mark. It added that it has been using its logo for more than 70 years.


Tennis - Romania's Sorana Cirstea has earned the biggest win of her career to reach the Miami Open semi-finals. The unseeded Cirstea will play Petra Kvitova or Ekaterina Alexandrova in her first last-four appearance at a WTA Masters 1000 event for nearly 10 years.

In the men's draw, Italian 10th seed Jannik Sinner overcame a two-hour rain delay to advance to the semi-finals. Sinner, 21, is still yet to lose a set in Miami and he was eventually able to earn a comfortable 6-3 6-1 victory to await either world number one Carlos Alcaraz or ninth seed Taylor Fritz in the last four.

Golf - A Mexican golf course designed by Tiger Woods will host the 2023 World Wide Technology Championship. The 15-time major champion designed the golf course which overlooks the Pacific Ocean based on the courses he grew up playing in southern California. The 2023 edition of the tournament will take place in the autumn.


Cloudy to begin with clearing by this afternoon. Highs of 15 degrees in Saint-Tropez, 16 degrees in Monaco , 17 degrees in Nice and 18 degrees in Cannes. A moderate breeze. This evening going down to 9 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and the weekend. Fine and sunny highs of 21 degrees in Nice and Monaco. 23 degrees is forecast for Cannes.

Sunrise       07.16am

Sunset        07.54pm















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