News - Wednesday, November 16th


Asylum rejections - France has rejected asylum applications from 44 of the 234 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by the Ocean Viking NGO ship. Speaking in parliament yesterday, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said they will be deported "as soon as their health allows," adding that others could also be sent home as more asylum claims are examined.

Meanwhile the diplomatic row with Italy continues as France suspended a plan to take 3,500 refugees currently in Italy and urged Germany and other EU nations to do the same.

Electricity cut experiment - The electricity supplier Enedis have hailed their initiative to save energy as a huge success. An experiment to switch off hot water tanks between noon and 2pm were conducted in October and, according to Operations Manager Thierry Sudret, this has saved the equivalent of the consumption of 2.4 million people. When this measure was announced, many French people were worried about no longer having access to hot water, but Thierry Sudret insists that it’s only the heating of the tanks that are switched off not access to hot water already heated during the night. It’s hoped that these measures will avoid the need to make further electricity cuts at homes during the day.

Electric scooter ban - Paris is considering banning its 15,000 rental electric scooters due to concerns about public safety on the city’s pavements, but operators are proposing a series of improvements in the hope of getting their licences renewed. The Paris town council is considering not renewing the licences of the three operators which expire in February 2023. The final decision rests with Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. Deputy mayor David Belliard, a green party politician in charge of transport in Paris, told Le Parisien newspaper last week that the nuisances caused by scooters now outweigh the advantages to the city. In 2021, 24 people died in scooter-related accidents in France, including one in Paris. This year, Paris registered 337 accidents with e-scooters and similar vehicles in the first eight months of the year, from 247 over the same period in 2021.

Road safety figures - In other road safety figures released yesterday, on average nearly two pedestrians and more than one cyclist are killed on France’s roads every day. That’s according to new government figures just released for October. However, road fatalities were slightly lower than in October 2021, but much higher than in October 2019, the reference year before traffic levels changed during the pandemic. Florence Guillaume, inter-ministerial delegate for road safety, called on all road users to be extra vigilant now that th