French and Riviera News Thursday 3rd March 2022


Russian invasion of Ukraine - Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine since the end of last week, regional authorities have witnessed a large influx of several hundred people a day arriving from Ukraine either by car or on-board buses at the La Turbie motorway paytoll. France has coordinated with other EU States in welcoming refugees. Locally the Var prefecture has been in touch with the mayors of the department to identify accommodation and support for Ukrainian families fleeing the war. A page dedicated to the Ukrainian crisis has been created on the website of the Var prefecture, Meanwhile, the Alpes-Maritimes has announced that it can repatriate and house 1,000 Ukrainian refugees. 130 Ukrainian refugees are expected to arrive in Marseille. Reports say they will travel from Poland by coach and will arrive tomorrow Friday 4th March. A recently formed Ukraine solidarity association is aiming to initially house them with local hosts.

Televised speech from President Macron - On Wednesday evening French President Emmanuel Macron gave a televised speech on the situation in Ukraine denouncing “the brutal attack launched by President Putin against Ukraine” and adding that “France stands alongside Ukraine”. The Head of State went on to say that “everything had been done to try and avoid this conflict” but that the decision was made “alone by Vladimir Putin” and it echoes “revenge”. Macron said that neither France, nor Europe nor NATO “wanted this war”. He also claimed to have chosen to stay in touch with President Putin. In particular to “prevent the spread of the conflict”.

Submarine cables – Meanwhile French media has reported on the threat which hangs over submarine cables which connect the continents to the Internet. France’s armed forces have reportedly envisaged the nightmare scenario of a “cut which would cause a blackout”.  After 7 days of war between Russia and Ukraine the threats are intensifying and the country's allies of Kiev are on alert. In addition to a nuclear threat, there is that of an Internet "black out" with the cutting of transatlantic submarine cables. In a recent interview Jean-Luc Vuillemin, director of international networks at Orange, recalled that in the event of a power cut, there would simply be no more European internet as 99% of the global network passes through these cables.

In other news

Financing of new rail line will see increase in local taxes - Local taxes look set to increase in order to finance the new rail line for the Provence Côte d’Azur. Half of the 1.4 billion euros which is required from the local authorities will be financed by a specific local tax. The agreement was signed by President Macron on Wednesday March 2nd, creating the local public establishment responsible for raising the funds to finance the project which is to create a new link between Marseille and Nice.

French journalist Jean-Pierre Pernaut dies - French journalist and presenter Jean Pierre Pernaut has died at the age of 71. Pernaut was the emblematic presenter of TF1 JT 13hr. He had been battling lung cancer. He joined TF1 when it was created in 1975 and became one of France’s most popular journalists.

E.Leclerc confirms status as the brand with the lowest prices - According to a new survey carried out by UFC-Que Choisir the E.Leclerc supermarket confirms its status in France as the brand with the lowest prices. Large retailers have multiplied marketing operations in recent months, due to inflation. The survey compared the prices of 98 national brand and distributor products in 1,006 stores of the eight main players in the sector including Auchan, Carrefour, Casino, Intermarché and Système U. The survey also showed a significant difference in prices depending on the region. With consumers in the west of France such as Brittany and the Pays de la Loire paying less then not surprisingly other regions, such as Paris and the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur where prices are the highest.

Football – OGC Nice are to face Nantes in the final of the French Cup after Monaco lost to Nantes last night on penalties. The match was marked by some over-enthusiastic supporters of Nantes throwing objects onto the pitch just 25 minutes into the game, with the threat of the match being suspended. The canaries will now aim to win the cup for the fourth time on May 8th at the Stade de France when they face Nice.


US President Joe Biden has said that additional forces are to be authorised to go to Germany but h