News from France 25 April 2021

This is News from France, a weekly review for Sunday 25 April

This week’s main news was:

Covid-19 cases remaining above 30,000 per day

French fishermen taking direct action concerning UK waters

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet arriving on the International Space Station

The number of new daily cases of Covid-19 was reported as 32,633 on Sunday.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said there had been a “genuine fall in the virus circulation” over the previous ten days and that schools would reopen from Monday.

The 7pm to 6am curfew is to remain in place but the 10 kilometre travel limit for people from their homes is to be lifted from the start of May.

Over 13 million people have received at least a first dose of vaccine.

About 80 fishermen blocked two trucks carrying UK-landed fish at the Boulogne docks in northern France on Thursday to protest post-Brexit restrictions on fishing in UK waters.

The Brexit trade deal allowed EU fishermen to keep fishing into British waters – but only if they have a licence.

Four months after the deal was signed, 80 percent of the French fishing fleet is still waiting for the permits, the protesters said.

About two-thirds of UK-landed fish are exported to Europe – including mackerel, whiting, squid.

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet arrived on board the International Space Station late Saturday morning French time to start his second mission, four years after his first one.

He was one of four crew onboard the second operational flight of the recycled SpaceX capsule, which was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

There are currently 11 astronauts on board the space station but four will return to earth on Wednesday. Pesquet and his team will spend the next six months onboard.

This has been News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 25 April 2021

News from France 18 April 2021

This is News from France, a weekly review for Sunday 18 April

As Covid-19 deaths pass 100,000, further travel restrictions are imposed on foreign visitors

the cost of damage from spring frosts is being counted by wine producers and fruit farmers

lawmakers voted for limitations on domestic air travel

and state help for French companies with their debts could be on the way.

The number of people who have died as a result of Covid-19 passed 100,000 this week. The number of new daily cases to Sunday was reported as 35,861. A total of 12.32 million people have been vaccinated to date.

Pressure on intensive care units in hospitals is still high and the current lockdown with nightly curfew for people to stay within 10 kilometers of their homes is ongoing.

France is also to make travelers arriving from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and South Africa spend 10 days in quarantine, the prime minister’s office announced on Saturday. Flights from Brazil have been suspended until at least next Friday because of concerns over the P1 variant of the virus.

The agriculture ministry is preparing emergency financial measures after frost and ice hit vineyards and fruit trees across France over the last two weeks.

Minister Julien Denormandie said it was probably the worst agricultural catastrophe of the century. At least a third of wine production could be lost, reducing sales by up to 2 billion euros.

On a visit with the prime minister to southern France on Saturday, the minister announced that a billion euros would be made available for producers hit by the cold weather after a spell of unusually high temperatures in early spring.

Members of parliament voted this week to suspend short domestic flights if the same journey can by made by train within 2 and a half hours.

The routes would include Paris to Bordeaux, Paris to Lyon and Paris to Marseille.

The measure is an attempt to reduce carbon emissions and more details are to be published shortly.

After French companies reached new levels of debt, the government has indicated some of them could be cancelled or delayed.

French company debt reached 1.8 billion euros in 2020 according to figures from the Bank of France.

On Wednesday, finance minister Bruno Le Maire said part of the debts could be cancelled or delayed on a “case by case” basis.

There has been a reduction in the number of bankruptcies – but the Bank of France said this did not indicate a fall in the number of companies in difficulty. Measures have been in force since the start of the Covid pandemic to support businesses and reduce or limit their costs and charges.

This has been News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 18 April 2021

News from France 11 April 2021

This is News from France, a weekly review for Sunday 11 April

The focus for this week was:

  • the roll out of the Covid 19 vaccine for lower age groups
  • special measures for wine and fruit growers after nights of freezing temperatures
  • President Macron’s moves to close the elite national school of administration (ENA)
  • the delay of the Roland-Garros tennis tournament by a week.

Health minister Olivier Véran announced at the weekend that vaccines against Covid will become available for people aged 55 or older.

The minister said the vaccination programme was on or just ahead of schedule with 10.54 million people receiving vaccines so far. There were 43,000 new cases reported in the 24 hours to Sunday.

Supplies of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (Janssen-Cilag) are due to begin this week.

Winemakers and fruit growers are counting the cost of unusual freezing temperatures to their plants.

After some warm seasonal temperatures, there were nights of frost which hit wine growing areas from Bordeaux to Burgundy. They caused winegrowers to suggest this year could be the smallest harvest in decades.

The government has declared a situation of agricultural calamity (régime de calamité agricole) and will offer financial support to growers who also include fruit farmers – whose apricots, apples and kiwi trees were damaged by the frost.

The Covid-19 shutdown of restaurants and bars had already depressed demand for wine.

Exports to the US fell after the former administration imposed tariffs.

Exports to the UK have also been disrupted by new trade rules following Brexit.

President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday plans to replace the national school of administration (Ecole nationale d’administration ENA) in Strasbourg with a new public service institute (Institut du service public ISP).

In a video conference on Thursday Macron said the new institute would provide the common training ground for all state administrators and lead to a profound change in the way students are recruited, with a mission to introduce more diversity.

The grand ecole for high state officers including presidents, ministers, ambassadors and directors was set up in 1945. Over the years it has become a symbol of elitism and privilege as many graduates move between the public and private sector.

Macron, who graduated in 2004, referred to the school’s reform in a press conference in April 2019 after street demonstrations across France by the “gilets jaunes.”

One year ahead of the presidential elections, the move is a return to Macron’s message of reform.

and this year’s French Open tennis tournament in Paris has been put back a week due to the Covid situation.

It will start on May 30, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said on Thursday. It is now due to finish on 13 June, two weeks before the Wimbledon championships are expected to start in London.

The federation hopes the delay will give the health situation more time to improve and optimise chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros.

This has been News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 11 April 2021

News from France – 4 April 2021

A weekly review of news from France

This is News from France, a weekly review for Sunday 4 April

Restrictions in 19 departments have been extended to the whole of France for the next four weeks in an attempt to control the increase in the number of new Covid cases.

Described as a “light lockdown” non-essential businesses are closed and trips limited to a 10 kilometer radius around people’s homes. Schools will be closed from Tuesday.

According to the government AntiCovid app on Sunday there were 46,677 new cases reported in the previous 24 hours and intensive care units in hospitals are at full capacity.

The vaccination programme is continuing, with 9.11 million people vaccinated so far. From next Tuesday, seven military hospitals are to open vaccination centres, defense minister Florence Parly announced.

Economy minister Bruno le Maire remained upbeat about the prospects for the year, saying the fundamentals were solid. France should receive its 5 billion euro share of the European Union’s recovery fund in July.

The plans include creating 160,000 new jobs this year, according to the prime minister.

The governor of the central bank (Banque de France) forecast growth of 5.5 percent this year after a contraction of 8.2 percent last year.

In a televised address on Wednesday, President Macron said cafe terraces would start to open again from mid May, if the health situation allowed.

From mid-May to the beginning of summer, there would be a schedule of gradual reopening for culture, sports, leisure, events and cafes and restaurants, he said.

Some major events are in doubt – including the Roland Garros tennis tournament due to start on 17 May.

and scientists have warned of the dangers of invasive species to the environment.

In a report published in the journal Nature, a team from the Ecology, Systematics and Evolution Laboratory said the introduction and spread of a species outside its native habitat had resulted in over a trillion US dollars in associated costs between 1970 and 2017.

They cited Australia’s feral European rabbit populations and the Asian long-horned beetle which is causing damage in American forests.

The 5-year project found the trend showed no sign of slowing down and called for coordinated measures to protect and control biodiversity.

This has been News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 4th April 2021