News Digest: French Farmer Protests, Electricity Price Rises & Join Us THIS WEEKEND!



News Digest: French Farmer Protests, Electricity Price Rises & Join Us THIS WEEKEND!

French farmers are blockading motorways in protest over EU legislation, electricity prices are going up again, and we’ll be in London this weekend for our annual French Property Exhibition. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. Farmers block motorways in protest

This past weekend saw French farmers carry out a series of protests, most notably blockading motorways and a nuclear power plant. The protests, which are backed by the farmers’ unions FNSEA and Jeunes Agriculteurs, continue today (Tuesday) with sections of the A64 (near Tarbes), A62 (near Agen), A7 (near Lyon), A20 (near Montauban), A16 (near Beauvais), A66 (near Ariège), RN124 (near Toulouse) and A63 (near Bayonne) blocked off.

The farmers join a number of similar protests taking place around Europe, contesting the increasing number of EU (and French) regulations, along with the delayed payments of government subsidiaries, both of which are great burdens to the livelihoods of agricultural workers.

The unions have vowed to keep up the protests until “concrete action” has been taken, and despite meeting with newly appointed French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal yesterday, the protests continue. Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau has promised that new measures will be announced by the end of the week.

If you are planning to travel through any of the affected areas this week, it’s recommended to keep an eye on local traffic updates and warnings.

2. Electricity prices set to rise

We recently published our list of changes in France in 2024, and one of the unfortunate inclusions was the inevitable rise in electricity prices. The tariff increases begin from February 1st, when households across France will see a predicted 8.6% rise (or up to 9.8% for those who use the “heures pleines-heures creuses” tariffs) in their electricity bills.

There is one bit of good news, though – French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has promised that this will be the last price rise for 2024, and insisted that prices would not rise again until at least February 2025.

3. Decisions on France’s immigration bill

Many of you have written in asking for more news about France’s controversial immigration bill, most notably the amendment that allows an automatic right to a French visa for British homeowners. Unfortunately, despite many media outlets reporting it as a done deal, this isn’t yet confirmed as the bill has not yet been passed into law – before it does, it must be passed by the Conseil Constitutionnel to ensure it complies with the French Constitution. The Conseil Constitutionnel is set to announce its decision on the bill this Thursday, 25th January.

The Conseil Constitutionnel has the right to block the bill in its entirety (although that is unlikely) and also to make changes or reject parts of the bill. This particular amendment, being as it is one that could set a precedent for visa conditions across the board and singles out one nationality above others, is certainly one that is at risk of being rejected. If it does pass (which, of course, we’re hoping will be the case!), then the Conseil d’Etat will need to determine when and how this “automatic right” to a visa works in practice.

You can read the full article detailing what we know so far here, and keep a look out for next week’s News Digest when we’ll update you on the latest. We’ll keep our fingers crossed!

4. Join us THIS WEEKEND!

It’s finally here! The 2024 French Property Exhibition is taking place THIS WEEKEND on 27th and 28th of January. Hosted by France Media Group and FrenchEntrée, the big event will be held at the Novotel London West in Hammersmith, London, and it will be packed with exhibitors, expert-led seminars, and thousands of French properties for sale.

I’ll be there, along with the rest of the FrenchEntrée team, and I’ll not only be speaking at the event, but I’ll be announcing an exciting new venture for FrenchEntrée, which I can’t wait to (finally!) share with you all.  If you can’t make it to the event, don’t worry – I’ll update you on everything you missed in next week’s News Digest.

You can read more about the exhibition here or sign up for your free tickets here.

We’re looking forward to meeting you all in person, so do make sure you come over to the FrenchEntrée stand and say hello!

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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.

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