Macron is inaugurated for his second term as French President, the minimum income threshold for French visa applicants has gone up, and France braces for a heatwave. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Macron Inaugurated as President
Saturday May 7th marked the official inauguration – ‘La cérémonie d’investiture’ – of French President Emmanuel Macron, who is set to start his second term after winning the election against Marine Le Pen in April. The inauguration ceremony took place at the Palais de l’Élysée in Paris, with around 500 people in attendance to watch as Macron signed the formal ‘procès-verbal d’investiture‘ document and gave his inauguration speech.
Traditions were upheld, including France’s National Anthem La Marseillaise performed by the Garde républicaine orchestra and 21 cannon shots fired from Les Invalides, but with no change of power, the ceremony was shorter and less celebratory than usual. Macron’s speech, which lasted just 10 minutes, addressed the difficulties of current challenges facing France, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ongoing pandemic, and the impacts of climate change, and sought to reassure voters that he would be a ‘new president’ for a ‘new mandate’.
While the formalities have been taken care of, the official start of Macron’s second term is from midnight on Friday, May 13th.
2. Temperatures are rising in France
An early heatwave is set to sweep France this week, with some départements expecting temperatures of up to 30°C. At least 15 French départements have been placed on alert, with water restrictions already in place for 10 départements—Maine-et-Loire, Vienne, Deux-Sèvres, Charente-Maritime, Charente, Ain, Drôme, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, and Vaucluse. These water restrictions are common throughout France during summer and sometimes lead to complete bans during periods of drought. However, restrictions are rarely put into place this early on in the year.
The water restrictions include limitations on garden sprinklers, car washing, and filling up swimming pools, among other things, but the exact rules will be set by your prefecture. Our advice is to avoid any non-essential or excessive water use (an excellent reason to put off washing the car for another week or two!), and if in doubt, check with your local Mairie for more precise guidelines.
3. Minimum Income for French Visas Increases
We reported in last week’s News Digest that, as of May 1st 2022, France’s minimum wage, known as SMIC, has increased to €10.85 (from €10.57) per hour (gross). The French Embassy in London has now confirmed that these figures will be used to calculate the minimum income required for French long-stay visas and Carte de Séjour (residency card) applicants.
Applicants for French visas – including the temporary long-stay visa, which allows second-home owners to stay for up to six months – must demonstrate that they have a stable and regular income that meets the minimum income threshold (or the equivalent in savings to cover the entire period of the visa). This minimum income is calculated based on the ‘net’ SMIC salary (the gross salary minus French social security contributions) in France, and from May 1st 2022 will now be set at €1,302 per month for a couple seeking a visa.
It is not clear whether a single person seeking a visa may earn less than this figure (although it’s probably best to assume that this threshold is for both one- and two-person households). It’s also not clear by how much this threshold changes when dependent children are involved.
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