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

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