News Digest: A New Era for Franco-British Relations? Plus the Latest Strike News
France’s pension strikes continue, there’s hope for a renewed alliance after last week’s Franco-British summit, plus send us your French tax questions! Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Strike updates
As the Senate continue to debate France’s highly controversial pension reforms bill, French workers continue to voice their discontent with continued marches and strikes. Last week saw major nationwide strikes take place on the Tuesday, along with travel disruptions and cancellations throughout the week, and the coming week doesn’t look much better.
SNCF rail workers have announced rolling strikes, meaning that trains could be cancelled up to 48 hours before departure throughout the week, but the largest walkouts are planned for tomorrow (Wednesday, 15th March). Blockades on oil refineries are also set to continue through until Thursday, along with waste collection strikes throughout Paris. School closures, flight cancellations/delays, and public transport disruptions are also expected on Wednesday.
MPS and senators are set to cast their first votes on the pension reform bill this Thursday, 16th March, with the final vote taking place before March 26th. The bill proposes raising the minimum retirement age to 64 and the end of certain special regime pensions.
2. Energy cheque delays
France’s Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, announced this week a delay in the distribution of France’s annual ‘energy cheques’. The cheques, which are issued to around 5.8 million low-income households in France, provide up to €200 of aid that can be used to pay electricity, gas, or other household energy bills.
Typically the cheques are sent out towards the end of March, but in 2023, the cheques won’t be sent out until April 21st. Read our guide France’s Chèque Énergie: Who is Eligible & How to Use It.
3. A new era for Franco-British relations?
French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met on Friday (10th March) for the first UK-France summit in five years, and the meeting has been hailed as a fresh start for relations between the two countries. France and Britain have seemingly butted heads over a number of issues in recent years, including the fraught negotiations over Brexit and the Withdrawal agreement, mutually divisive travel rules during the Covid-19 pandemic, and disputes over how to handle cross-Channel migration.
Thankfully, Friday saw both parties come to the table with a positive attitude and a shared interest in renewing relations between the two countries. Sunak talked of an “entente renewed” in his speech, ending it by addressing Macron: “Merci, mon ami”.
Macron tweeted: “The destinies of the United Kingdom and France are linked. Our challenges, shared. Preservation of our planet, support for Ukraine, cooperation on security and energy: we are moving forward together.”
Les destins du Royaume-Uni et de la France sont liés. Nos défis, partagés. Préservation de notre planète, soutien à l'Ukraine, coopération en matière de sécurité et d’énergie : c’est ensemble que nous avançons.
Bienvenue à Paris, cher @RishiSunak. pic.twitter.com/CCQ7etwaWR
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) March 10, 2023
Some of the key takeaways from the summit were a shared resolve to support Kyiv to “win the war” in Ukraine, a new agreement for renewable energy, and a pledge from the UK to contribute almost €500 million to tackle the problem of illegal migrant boats crossing the Channel.
4. Do you have a question about French taxes?
Don’t forget to send me your questions for our next FrenchEntrée webinar, which will be focusing entirely on FRENCH TAXES!
I’ll be joined by our expert advisor, Eliane Rakotonoel from Elitax for this special edition webinar, where she will be answering all your questions regarding French taxes, tax returns, and wealth tax. As always, there will be the chance to put your questions to Eliane live, but if you do want to send in your questions in advance, you can email them to me at [email protected].
The French Tax & Tax Returns: Your Questions Answered webinar will take place on Thursday March 30th at 4pm UK time (GMT+1). Sign up for free here or click the button below.
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