French and Riviera News - Wednesday 20th April 2022

Candidates Preparing For Tonight's Live Debate

President Macron and Marine Le Pen are preparing for tonight’s live TV debate that’s traditionally a key moment in French presidential elections, and could prove critical for winning over millions of voters, in particular on the left.

Supporters of the President are warning against complacency despite a solid poll lead, while Marine Le Pen is hoping to avoid any repeat of the fiasco five years ago when her ill-prepared performance contributed to her defeat.

The one-off live televised debate will start at 9pm this evening. It’s a political tradition in France since 1974 when Socialist Francois Mitterrand took on centrist Valery Giscard d’Estaing.

However, there’s some controversy around the choice of mediator for tonights debate, with both camps accused of vetoing a journalist known for her pugnacious interviews. Marine Le Pen has made clear her disapproval of Anne-Sophie Lapix with a spokesman saying the interviewer was unable to conceal her hostility towards her. Emmanuel Macron is known to have largely avoided France 2’s star presenter since a rocky interview in March 2020. The debate this evening will be hosted by Gilles Bouleau and Léa Salamé.


French Prime Minister To Resign

Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that he and his government would resign "in the days that follow" a possible re-election of Emmanuel Macron on Sunday.

Asked on France Inter whether he would remain prime minister until the legislative elections on 12th and 19th June, he replied that "everything depends on the fate of the ballot boxes on Sunday", but that he is "one of those who think that a new impetus after the re-election of the president must be found". Jean Castex also said that "nothing is played" in this election.


Embargo on Russian Oil Imports

The French Finance Minister has reaffirmed the position of the French government in favor of an embargo on Russian oil imports. Bruno Le Maire said on Europe 1 that he hopes to "convince" his most reluctant European partners. In 2021, Moscow supplied 30% of crude and 15% of petroleum products purchased by the European Union. It’s a dependence that is difficult to replace for importing countries, and which provides Russia with a colossal financial windfall, even though the EU economic sanctions aim to isolate it.


Deliveroo Bosses Fines

Two former bosses of Deliveroo France were each given a suspended one-year prison sentence and fined €30,000 by a French court today, for abusing the freelance status of riders working for the takeaway delivery platform. The company itself was also fined the maximum penalty of €375,000 euros and will have to publish the court decision on its home page for one month. Shares in Deliveroo, which have lost more than 70% of their value since they were listed in March last year, were trading down 6.5% today.


Automatic Receipts To Be Banned

Automatic receipts from shops and supermarkets are to be banned from January next year in France. The move is being opposed by consumer associations who say it will make it difficult for families to track the price of purchases or keep a proof of purchase essential to take advantage of warranties. They also say replacing receipts with e-mail versions could facilitate the creation of marketing databases by traders. They are calling for printed receipts to be systematically offered to those who want them.



Carlo Gift Voucher Initiative Extended

The Carlo Gift Voucher initiative in Monaco has been hailed a huge success by the Principality’s Government. Carlo is a payment app that rewards users with a 5% payment on local purchases. There have been over 110 000 transactions since December 1st, twice as many as the previous year. In total, the 30000 users spent €13 million via the app which generated €910000 in cash rewards. In turn these were reinjected into the local economy. The government reaffirmed its commitment to support the 415 partner shops and restaurants by extending the benefits until June 30th 2022.


Palace Nightclub To Close

The Palace Nightclub in the East of Nice is to close definitively just 2 years after it’s grand opening in February 2020. The unfortunate events since them meant that it has been closed for 482 days, although the management insist that the closure is voluntary so that they can dedicate themselves to other projects.


Cannes Director’s Fortnight Selection Announced

The selection has been unveiled for the Cannes Director’s fortnight during the CannesFilm Festival. The line-up includes Alex Garland’s Cannes debut Men, the Jessie Buckley-starring movie from the surreal sci-fi master. The film will play as a Special Screening in Cannes b