News from France – 31.1.2021

A weekly review of News from France

This is News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 31 January:

The focus for this week was:

management of the Covid 19 virus

its effects on the economy

and other business news.

A further 400 thousand people were vaccinated against the virus this week – while the daily rate of new cases remains around 20 thousand.

The 6pm to 6am curfew continues while new measures include the closing of the country’s 400 largest shopping malls (+20,000 square meters). While the food stores inside the malls will remain open, the non-food stores are to close as from today, Sunday.

France has also closed its borders for visitors from countries outside the European Union as the government takes measures short of announcing another complete lock down.


The effects of the virus on the economy became clear this week as the national statistics office (INSEE) reported an 8.3 percent fall in GDP (produit intérieur brut PIB). The recession is the worst since the Second World War. Unemployment stands at 9 percent.


The car industry in France reported a weaker outlook. France produces just under one in ten of passenger cars made in Europe according to the French Federation of Vehicle Equipment Industries. (Fédération des industries des équipements pour véhicules (Fiev). Germany produces about one in four.

In 2020 about one and a half million passenger cars (véhicules légers) were produced in France. Over the last 15 years, China has become the world’s largest producer with some 23 million cars produced there each year.

This month, the Peugeot-Citroën group formally merged with Fiat Chrysler under the new name of “Stellantis” with headquarters in Amsterdam.

This week, rail manufacturer Alstom completed its multibillion (5.5 billion-euro) acquisition of Bombardier Transportation.

As a result, it becomes the world’s second largest rail company behind Chinese state-owned CRRC.

After a merger between Alstom and Germany’s Siemens was blocked by the EU commission in 2019, there was no such opposition to the French company acquiring Bombardier.

Alstom will gain better access to North American markets and innovations such as the monorail “people mover” developed by Bombardier. For its part, the Canadian company is to focus on building private jets.

This has been News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 31 January 2021.

News from France

A review of news from France for the week to Sunday 24 January 2021

This is News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 24 January:

The focus for this week was:

the need for a negative Covid-19 test for travelers arriving in France

the rollout of the Coronavirus vaccination programme

better protection for children from sexual violence

and a deal between Google and French publishers for use of news.

From midnight Sunday 24 January all travelers arriving by sea or by air in France need to show evidence of a negative Covid-19 test carried out within the previous 72 hours, according to government ministers.

The government also announced no decision would be taken on a possible third confinement of people to their homes until Wednesday. The number of new Coronavirus cases reported in the previous 24 hours was reported at nearly 24 thousand (23,924).

The vaccination programme is being rolled out across the country with more than a million people being vaccinated since it began (1,008,720).

President Emmanuel Macron said France would tighten its laws on incest, to better protect children from sexual violence.

The move comes after the publication of a book accusing a French professor who oversaw one of France’s top universities of abusing his stepson. Hundreds of people took to social media to make known their own experience of incest.

Macron wrote on Twitter that he had asked the justice minister to chair a consultation aimed at quickly making legislative proposals. Controls on people working with children have already been increased but Macron said much more needed to be done.


Search engine Google has reached a three-year agreement on the use of news snippets with over a hundred French publishers. The deal follows a pan-EU copyright reform agreed in 2019.

The French competition watchdog had ordered Google to negotiate with publishers over reuse of content.

The Press Alliance (L’Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale) which represents about 300 titles in France said this week it had reached a framework agreement setting the terms of negotiation with its members for Google’s reuse of their content.

The payments will go direct to publishers and terms will not be disclosed.

Google introduced its “News Showcase” programme to start paying publishers around the world for use of news.

This has been News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 24 January 2021.

News from France

Weekly review of news from France in English –

This is News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 17 January:

The focus for this week was:

The spread of Coronavirus and the slow roll out of the vaccine programme

The effects of the pandemic on the French economy

Obligatory Covid tests for travelers arriving in France from outside Europe

and other business news. 

All of France is living under a dusk to dawn curfew as a result of the latest government measures to contain the Coronavirus.

While schools remain open, people are being urged to work from home while cafes and restaurants are closed. The curfew starts at 6 p.m and is lifted at 6 a.m. daily. 

The rollout of the vaccine programme is progressing slowly. According to the government mobile app, by this weekend 413,000 people have been vaccinated while 21,000 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours. 

From Monday, travelers arriving in France from outside the European space need a negative test for the Covid virus.  They also need to self-isolate for seven days on arrival, and to take a second test at the end of that period.

With unemployment at 9 percent, estimates for economic recovery have been adjusted to take into account  the slow rollout of the vaccines. The economy is not expected to tick upwards until the second half of the year. 

In related business news, the French economy minister said that the government will stop a Canadian multi-national from taking over retail giant Carrefour. 

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said “This health crisis has taught us one thing — food security has no price.”

He said the government was ready to use its new investment screening powers in the name of food security to make sure that Carrefour stays French.

Greek lawmakers approved the purchase of 18 Rafale French fighter jets this week as part of Greece’s investment in its armed forces. 

Greece has been in a dispute with Turkey over energy resources in the Mediterranean. 

The agreement for six new and 12 used Rafale jets is expected to be signed by France and Greece in January. The first deliveries are expected during the first half of the year.

And in Paris, the mayor’s office has outlined plans to reduce traffic on the Champs-Élysées from eight to four lanes, to plant trees and create more space for pedestrians in a multi-million euro project. Some of the work is due to be finished in time for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

This has been News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 17 January 2021.

News from France

Weekly news review in English from France:

This is News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 10 January:

The focus for this week was:

President Emmanuel Macron’s response to the events in Washington on 6 January

The development of the Covid pandemic in France and the health service vaccination programme

The first week of trade with the UK following Brexit

France’s welcome to finance companies wishing to relocate from London, and other business news.

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French President Emmanuel Macron was quick to respond to the attack on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.

In the early hours of Thursday, he made a statement from the Elysee Palace – beginning in French before finishing in English.

Macron said “What happened today in Washington is not American”

Five hours later, far-right leader Marine le Pen was on morning television to acknowledge for the first time that Jo Biden had won the November presidential elections.

Le Pen and her party are seen as the major threat to a second term for Macron in the presidential elections next year.

In France, new cases of the Covid virus continued to be reported at an average of 20,000 per day. The government had hoped to see this number fall to 5,000 per day.

As of this weekend, there have been at least 2,7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in France and a total of 67,599 (sixty-seven thousand five hundred and ninety-nine) deaths.

Hundreds of medical centers across France have been announced as the vaccination programme is developed in the coming weeks.

Further measures to restrict movement were announced by the French Prime Minister Jean Castex and a nightly curfew is being extended in more than 15 departments in the northeast and southeast of the country to 18hours ( 6 p.m.). All other departments have a curfew from 8 p.m. Schools are open while people are being urged to work from home. People must wear a mask in all venues and bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums and gyms remain closed.

Among the museums is the new art gallery of French billionaire retailer Francois Pinault. The renovated Bourse de Commerce or stock exchange building in central Paris was due to open this month with some of Pinault’s 5,000 works on display. He also has two major galleries in Venice.

The first week of January saw the first finance and trade effects following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The Brexit deal between London and the EU agreed before Christmas did not cover financial market access. The system in the EU offered to UK banks known as passporting ended with Brexit.

Ahead of the new year, over a trillion euros in assets ($1.55 trillion US dollars) belonging to EU customers were moved from London to the EU. On the first day of trading in January, nearly €6 bn billion euros of EU share dealing shifted away from London, according to reports in the Financial Times.

France now hosts the European Banking Association in Paris and so far, financial firms in London have moved around 7,500 jobs into Europe, according to accountancy firm EY.

British retailers – including food companies Marks and Spencer – faced problems with paperwork at the border in January. They now need to state country of origin for all ingredients coming into the EU. M&S and others, including department store John Lewis and luxury food store Fortnum and Mason have suspended deliveries into Europe as a result.

In business news, Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said during a conference call with journalists, he was “cautiously optimistic for 2021.” The Group hopes to increase production of single-aisle aircraft in the second half of the year.

Airbus which employs around 40,000 people from its Toulouse headquarters reported a 767-million-euro net loss for the third quarter of 2020.

In June the French government announced a a €15 billion euro support package for the aerospace sector. Minister for Finance Bruno Le Maire said it was primarily aimed at saving 300,000 direct and indirect jobs in the sector, as well as the 1,300 companies involved in the supply chain for the aerospace industry.

The bailout for airline Air France will allow it to progress its order for nearly 100 new Airbus planes. It includes 38 long-haul A350s.

Two French start-up companies benefitted from the EU’s first round of direct equity investments through the new European Innovation Council Fund.

15 million euros has been placed with CorWave in exchange for an equity stake in the region of 10 to 25 percent.

Corwave provides medical solutions for patients with advanced heart failure.

XSUN, a solar aircraft company which designs energy-independent drones is another of the French companies to receive investment under the fund.

A total of 159 start-ups across the EU have been selected for the first round of direct equity investments of 178 million euros.

This has been News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 10 January 2021.