News Digest: Supermarket Strikes, Bird Flu & a French Island for sale



News Digest: Supermarket Strikes, Bird Flu & a French Island for sale

A supermarket giant is likely to be affected by ongoing strikes throughout the month, and a seasonal outbreak of bird flu threatens poultry across the country. The bid to introduce a simplified visa for British second-home owners in France has been rejected by MPs and an island off the coast of Brittany has been put up for sale. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.

Supermarket Strikes

Workers at the French supermarket giant Groupe Casino, have called for a strike starting today and potentially lasting until December 31st. The strike is in protest against possible shop closures and layoffs due to the company’s declining commercial situation and financial turmoil. Five unions representing the workers have initiated the strike, expressing concerns about the risk of job losses in the coming months. The group is reportedly preparing to sell a significant number of its large and small supermarkets, which has contributed to the unrest among the employees. The strike may lead to some shops being closed or short-staffed in the days and weeks ahead, potentially affecting the group’s operations, including its stores under the brands Casino, Monoprix, and Franprix.

High Risk of Bird Flu

France has raised the risk level of bird flu to ‘high’ from ‘moderate’ after the detection of new cases of the disease, forcing poultry farms to keep birds indoors to stem the spread of the highly contagious virus. An outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu virus was detected on a turkey farm in the northwest of the country as a seasonal wave of the disease spreads across Europe.

France 2024 Calendar Released

This calendar features glossy images of France, making it a perfect holiday gift or a tool to plan property visits and make 2024 the year you buy a house in France. From the Breton coast to Alsace, from Normandy to Provence, and the romantic City of Light, Paris, it provides a visual feast for Francophiles and travel enthusiasts alike, offering a glimpse of the beauty and charm of France throughout the year. Whether you’re a France lover or looking for a special gift, this calendar could be the perfect choice to inspire and plan for a memorable 2024.

An Island For Sale in Brittany for €2.3M

Located in the Bréhat archipelago, l’île Lavrec is described as the “pink pearl of Brittany.” It comprises a main plot of 5.93 hectares with a house in need of total renovation. Despite its run-down state, the island has already attracted potential buyers, particularly sea-loving entrepreneurs drawn to the property’s isolation. The unique feature of a built area with a pontoon facilitating access at high tide is highlighted. The island is secluded and home to diverse flora and fauna. The sale is being handled by Sotheby’s International Realty.

A Ban on Vapes and E-Cigarettes

France is planning to ban disposable vapes as part of a national effort to combat smoking. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has announced that the government will soon present a new plan to fight against smoking, including the prohibition of disposable electronic cigarettes, which are known as “puffs” in France. Borne expressed concerns that these products, which come in sweet flavours such as ice candy, marshmallow, and bubblegum, are targeting teenagers and leading them to smoking. The ban is part of a wider plan to reduce smoking, as it is the reported cause of 75,000 deaths a year in the country. Several other European countries are also considering similar bans on disposable vapes.

French MPs Reject Bid for British Second-Home Owners Visa

An immigration bill that proposed giving ‘automatic visa’ rights to British second-home owners, allowing them to visit for longer periods without additional formalities has been removed by the laws commission, but could be resubmitted in a new format. Senator Martine Berthet, who proposed the article, justified it by citing the close France-UK links, the contributions of Brits to local economies, and the difficulties Britons face in obtaining extended stay visas after Brexit. She expressed regret at the removal of the article but noted that several members of parliament supported the approach. Some MPs opposed the article, stating that the British made the sovereign choice to leave the EU and renounce the advantages that come with it. They also expressed concerns about the potential inequality which could arise from giving long-stay visa rights to people based on property ownership. The debate on the immigration bill, including the potential resubmission of the article, is set to take place in the full Assemblée Nationale debate from December 11.

Lead photo credit : Groupe Casino

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