News Digest: France Heads to the Polls and Euro 2020 Kicks Off

 

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News Digest: France Heads to the Polls and Euro 2020 Kicks Off

Regional elections, Euro 2020 matches, and vaccines now available for under 18s—here are the five French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. First Round of France’s Regional Elections

The first round of France’s regional elections takes place this Sunday (June 20th) after being pushed back twice from their initial date in March due to Covid restrictions. Eighteen elections will be taking place to elect regional presidents: 13 in metropolitan France and Corsica, and a further 5 in French overseas territories.

These regional elections serve as an important indicator of France’s political climate and with the 2o22 Presidential elections on the horizon, political pundits will be eagerly awaiting the results of these early elections. There are reports that Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party is gaining ground in some areas, and President Macron’s approval rating has taken several hits throughout the pandemic, but it’s still too early to know what this may mean for the upcoming elections.

Who can vote? While EU citizens in France are granted a right to vote in municipal elections, these regional elections are for French citizens only. So, unless you’ve already secured your French citizenship, you’ll have to sit this one out.

2. Euro 2020 kicks off

After being pushed back a year by the Covid pandemic, Euro 2020 finally kicked off last week (Jun 11th). While Euro 2016 took place in France, Euro 2020  will be held in 11 different UEFA cities, with the quarter-finals in Baku, Munich, Rome, and Saint Petersburg, and the semi-finals and final (on July 11th) at Wembley Stadium in London.

For those of us in France, bars and fan zones will be allowed to screen the matches, as long as they follow regulations. France is currently under the third stage of Emmanuel Macron’s four-step plan to easing Covid-19 restrictions (read more about that in last week’s news digest), which means indoor venues have a 50% capacity limit, a maximum of six people per table, and mandatory wearing of masks when not at your table.

Remember that the nationwide curfew (couvre-feu) of 11pm is still in place, which isn’t ideal for games with a 9pm kickoff, such as France vs Germany tonight (June 15) and England vs Scotland on Friday (June 18).

3. Travelling to France

Last week we reported that the UK and the United States (along with many other countries) have been placed on France’s Orange list for travel, which means that fully vaccinated travellers can now travel to France without an essential reason for travel.

Since then, we’ve received confirmation of the rules for travelling with unvaccinated children and updated our article on France’s Traffic Light System for Travel. France has now updated its official travel guidelines, as has the UK government site.

For travellers from the UK, remember that France is currently on the UK’s Amber list, which means you will need to follow the UK rules for re-entry to the country on your return to France.

4. Reopening of French Tourist Attractions

Top French tourist attractions are reopening their doors this week. Disneyland Paris reopens on June 17th and the Eiffel Tower is back in business for visitors from tomorrow (June 16th). Entrance to both attractions is by pre-booked tickets only, but with limited entry numbers, you’ll need to book early if you’re planning a Paris trip this summer.

Guests over the age of six will need to wear a mask, and there’s a €135 fine for anyone not complying with the rules.

5. France Opens Vaccines for 12 to 18 Year Olds

With France’s vaccine roll-out continuing to gain ground and cases continuing to fall, France looks set to meet its targets for the final stage of its reopening on June 30th. All adults in France are now eligible for vaccines, and from today (June 15th), vaccines will also be available for children between 12 and 18. However, vaccinations for children remain optional and will not be included in the compulsory vaccinations required for children to attend school.

If you’re in France, the easiest way to book your vaccine appointment is online via apps such as Doctolib and Maiia, or via the government’s website Sante.fr. You can also book an appointment by calling the vaccine centres directly or through your médecin traitant (GP). Children under 18 will need an attestation signed by their parents, which you can download from your healthcare account at Ameli.fr.

The latest Covid-19 statistics from Santé Publique as of June 14, 2021, include:

  • a total of 689 recorded new cases in France in the last 24 hours
  • a rate of positive tests of 1.5%, and 63 new deaths recorded
  • 30,271,431 people have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, and 15 571 724 have been fully vaccinated.

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes, where she writes her blog Râler Like a French Girl, a humorous look at the English-French experience.

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