Snow is falling across France, Macron’s pension reform announcements have been pushed back until January, and Covid-19 boosters are now available nationwide. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Covid boosters open to everyone
We announced back in October that France had rolled out its Covid-19 booster vaccine programme to vulnerable groups, including over 60s, healthcare professionals and those with certain chronic health conditions. As of Friday, 9th December, Health minister François Braun has now confirmed that the booster vaccines will is available to anyone who wants one.
Boosters can be received from six months after your previous booster shot or a Covid-19 infection (or three months for those at high-risk). There are no obligations to get a booster shot, but Braun insisted that it was recommended for everyone, especially those who plan to spend Christmas with elderly relatives or other high-risk individuals.
2. France’s cold snap continues
Freezing temperatures swept across France this weekend, with much of the northwest experiencing its first snowfall of the season. The “risque de neige” continues this week, with below-freezing temperatures set to hit Rennes, Paris, Lille, and Belfort.
As the cold snap continues, the French government is doubling down on recommendations to reduce energy consummation as much as possible, and there is still the possibility of planned power cuts in high-usage areas, as we reported last week.
3. Pension reforms postponed until New Year
French President Emmanuel Macron’s highly controversial pension reforms – a widely debated issue during this year’s presidential elections – were set to be presented to parliament this month. However, in light of recent leadership changes in the Green and Republican parties, Macron has now announced that the talks will be postponed until 10th January 2023.
While the reforms are sure to be hotly contested by opposing parties and the public (Macron’s proposed pension reforms were a key issue behind the Gilets Jaunes protests of 2018-2019), it remains one of the president’s most pressing aims. The full details will be revealed in January, but Macron is expected to propose a raising of the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 or 65, along with efforts to streamline France’s many different state pension regimes.
4. France vs Morocco in the World Cup semi-finals
After France’s 2-1 victory over England on Saturday and Morocco’s historic 1-0 win against Portugal earlier in the day (making them the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup), the two teams will go head-to-head tomorrow, Wednesday 14th December.
France and Morocco’s fraught history and the large number of Moroccans living in France (Moroccans make up approximately 18.4% of France’s immigrant population according to INSEE) mean that this match is set to draw record viewers locally, with huge turnouts expected at bars and restaurants screening the match.
The match takes place at 8pm French time and will be shown on freeview channel TF1. With my home nation now sadly out of the running, I’ll be switching my allegiance to my adoptive country for tomorrow’s match, so allez les bleus !
5. French Property Exhibition line-up announced
The French Property Exhibition is returning to London after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, and FrenchEntrée’s expert property team will be on hand to answer all your questions. If you’re looking to buy in France, sell your French property, or move to France, this is your opportunity to meet our experts and put your questions to them directly.
Sponsored by our partners, Blevins Franks, the free event is the place to browse thousands of French properties and find answers to questions on legal, financial, currency exchange, tax and inheritance concerns, as well as building and renovation, removals, visas, and much more. Check out the full list of exhibitors here, then sign up for your free tickets here.
The exhibition takes place on the 28th and 29th of January 2023 at Novotel West in Hammersmith, London.
I look forward to seeing you all there!
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