News from France – 2 May 2021

This is News from France, a weekly review for Sunday May 2nd

Highlights this week were:

a presidential timetable for Covid-19 restrictions

labour day marches

EU funds for countries affected by Brexit

and the Emperor Napoleon’s books

The French president laid out a timetable for relaxing restrictions due to the Covid pandemic, as indicators suggested some signs of improvement.

There were 25,670 new cases reported in the 24 hours to Sunday and French hospitals are still under intense pressure to care for critically-ill patients.

Since the start of the pandemic, France has recorded 5.57 million Covid-19 cases and 103,947 deaths.

President Macron announced that the nightly curfew would be relaxed from May 19 and outdoor service would be allowed at cafes, bars and restaurants.

Vaccinations would be offered to all adults from mid-June and travel restrictions are also expected to be eased.

Traditional labour marches on May day were held with about 100,000 people taking part in 281 gatherings across the country.

Numbers were restricted because of Covid-19 controls on assemblies.

The range of demands and concerns varied among the demonstrators – for jobs, wages, public services, liberty and peace in the world.

Irish lawmakers are concerned Ireland could lose 200 million euros to France from its share of the billion-euro Brexit compensation fund.

French negotiators at the EU had argued the original proposal for most of the fund to go to Ireland was unfair.

Last week, a compromise was reached under the auspices of the Portuguese government which holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

Funds will be calculated on a basis of the importance of UK trade to EU economies as well as share of total EU trade.

Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews compared the French approach to a “smash and grab.” He told the Independent newspaper that Ireland was “very disadvantaged” by the deal.

And nearly 200 years after his death the Emperor Napoleon continues to be a subject of interest for readers across the world.

On average one book for each day of the year is published – and most of them find ready buyers.

The Emperor’s own library at Fontainebleau contains some 35,000 books although he did not apparently write many manuscripts of his own.

One of them, a 74-page document dictated to his seven secretaries, was written shortly after the Battle of Austerlitz. It remains in private hands.

This has been news from France for Sunday 2nd May, 2021.

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