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Five practical articles you may have missed this week

Cooling down in a heatwave, more details on the new visa-waiver scheme requirements, increasing electricity bills; we recap helpful articles from the last seven days

1. EU clarifies new visa-waiver scheme requirements

The EU has confirmed that applicants for the upcoming Etias visa-waiver scheme will not have to hand over any biometric information when applying.

Once the scheme is rolled out, people who currently have visa-free access to the EU (Britons, Americans, Canadians, Australians, etc) will have to apply in advance for the €7 visa waiver.

When applying for the document, the EU confirmed people will only need to hand over basic personal information – as well as previous travel history and future travel plans – and not any biometric data.

Additional information may be needed on request, or if a third party applies for the visa waiver on your behalf.

Fingerprints and facial photos will be taken at EU border entry points, however, when the digital border Entry/Exit System (EES) comes into force.

Both of these projects have seen numerous delays, and France is angling for their rollout to be halted until after the 2024 Paris Olympics, to prevent chaos at French airports.

The EU Commission is expected to give an update on the schemes’ rollout in October this year.

Read more: What details will have to be given for EU’s Etias visa waiver scheme?

2. Cooling down in the heatwave

With the south of France facing an intensive heatwave this week – and some areas seeing temperatures rise above 40C, we shared some tips on how to keep cool and healthy in the intense weather.

Alongside advice on how to sleep (do not take a freezing shower just before bed), we shared tips on keeping your house cool and your body healthy to minimise the effects of the hot weather.

Our article also shows how to spot signs of heatstroke in everybody from the elderly to young children. In addition, we explain how to sign loved ones up for the heatwave register, so authorities can check in on them during the heat.

Although the harshest temperatures seem to have gone, the popular tourist destination of Alpes-Maritimes is still on a tier-three orange alert for weather conditions.

Read more: France heatwave tips: How to sleep, keep cool and stay healthy

3. Low emission zone changes 

Despite the fanfare around France’s low-emission zones (zone à faibles émissions, or ZFEs), the rules on their rollout have changed significantly.

Out of the 12 already in place, only five will be required to stick to the previously announced timeframe for introducing stricter limits on which cars can enter city limits.

In the other seven, rules will be brought in more gradually, allowing older cars on the road for longer.

Despite some claiming it is an economic necessity for both cities and drivers, ecologists claim delaying the rollout of rules could spark the “death” of ZFEs.

There is no information on whether changes to the rollout of ZFEs in a number of other population areas across Franc” – scheduled for January 2025 – will be changed.

Read more: Where in France are low-emission zone restrictions being eased?

4. Working in the heatwave

Even during the heatwave, some people will still be required to work, although there are rules in France that limit the temperatures people can work under.

When a red warning for high temperatures is issued by Météo France, employers must make daily evaluations of how safe the working environment is, and if it is affected by the heat.

In many cases, bosses might offer workers the chance to work from home to avoid commuting, especially for vulnerable people.

If this is not possible, work may be stopped altogether, with the hours made up for when the heatwave has subsided.

This is particularly the case for those who work outside or in already high-heat environments.

Read more: Heatwave in France: Do I have to go into the office?

5: Electricity bills are going up 

If you are on a regulated electricity bill tariff, the price will rise by 10% from August.

The change is part of the government’s decision to gradually cut back on the previous ‘energy shield’ implemented at the end of 2021 to protect against inflation.

Ministers claim the project needs to be scaled back to help the government save around €14 billion, as it looks to slash debt.

Although regulated energy bills change twice per year, the 10% jump has been enabled by the relaxing of the shield.

Those currently on a regulated tariff who are unsatisfied with the price increase can also find helpful links in our article to both save electricity and switch to a new contract.
Read more: Electricity bills to rise in France as price rise protection reduced

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