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Spending power help, Covid travel pass: This week in French politics

Senators will also study a report on the violent scenes outside the Stade de France at the Champions League final in May

The Assemblée nationale opens its first session under the new government of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne Pic: Yevhen Prozhyrko, Oleg Batrak, Vasin Lee, dragancfm / Shutterstock

The Connexion returns to its weekly politics calendar as MPs and senators start back after the presidential and legislative elections and the recent cabinet reshuffle. 

With a busy first week ahead, topics under debate include the government’s long-awaited spending power bill and measures aimed at controlling Covid case numbers. 

There are also calls for a vote of no confidence in the government from the left-wing coalition Nupes.

Here is a round-up of the key points.

Assemblée nationale

Monday, July 11

  • A handful of ‘urgent measures’ to protect people’s spending power will be studied as part of a bill brought by Nord MP Charlotte Parmentier-Lecocq (Ensemble!) 

Proposals include increases to French pensions and social benefits and support with food costs for low-income households. 

Read more: Recap: France's nine measures to boost residents' spending power

The bill is in response to the sharp rise in inflation rates seen in recent months due to supply shortages, transportation problems and the war in Ukraine.  

  • MPs will debate a vote of no confidence motion brought by the Nupes coalition to challenge Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne. 

Nupes needs an absolute majority of 289 MPs to back its proposal, but is expected to fall below this threshold since neither the far right Rassemblement national (RN) nor the right-wing Les Républicains (LR) have expressed support for the vote. 

Read more: Why is there talk of a vote of confidence for France’s new PM?

Some 58 votes of no confidence have been brought forward under the Fifth Republic, with only one having led to the ousting of a prime minister in 1962. 

  • MPs will study amendments to a draft bill that looks to maintain “health security in the fight against Covid” as a seventh wave of infections spreads in France.

Included in the bill are proposals to continue using SI‑DEP and Contact Covid, two governmental tools used to track the spread of Covid, and also to continue to be able to request proof of vaccination (often referred to as a Covid health pass) from people aged 12 and above coming or leaving the country until March 31, 2023. This last measure is currently set to end on July 31.

Read more: France to review prolonging Covid pass for international travel

Read more: Covid deaths in France surpass 150,000, hospitalisations on rise again

Tuesday July 12 

  • The head of France’s public finance auditor the Cour des comptes and president of the Haut Conseil des finances publiques, Pierre Moscovici, will deliver a report on France’s public finances and his opinion on amendments to its annual budget. 

Read more: France has ‘worst public finance situation’ in Eurozone due to Covid

Wednesday July 13

  • The foreign affairs’ commission will hear from the Ukrainian ambassador in France Vadym Omelchenko.

  • The government will open the afternoon session with an official speech on the outcomes of France’s Council of the European Union presidency, which ended on July 1. The speech will be followed by an assembly debate.

  • MPs will discuss France’s annual 2021 spending report, brought forward by Jean-René Cazeneuve (Ensemble!).

The report concluded that France’s 2021 budget increased overall and allowed the country to bounce back from the economic crisis thanks to President Macron’s political decision to shoulder the financial cost of the pandemic in a “whatever it takes” strategy. 

Bastille Day July 14

President Macron is expected to attend the traditional military parade ceremony at 10:00 on Bastille Day. 

Senate

Tuesday July 12
  • Senate members are hosting a roundtable discussion on the security of energy supplies in light of the war in Ukraine. The senate will hear from members of EDF’s executive committee, Engie CEO Catherine MacGregor and TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouhanné. 

Read more: French energy companies call for immediate action to cut back on usage

  • Senate members will study the report requested following the chaotic scenes that occurred outside the Stade de France in Paris before the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in May.

Read more: Champions League final chaos: French minister defends police response

This is the first parliamentary session of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne’s new government. Ms Borne gave an introductory speech setting out her political programme before both houses on July 6 and asked for compromise between MPs.

Read more: Tax, security, spending power: PM lays out plans for new Macron term

The Assemblée nationale – France’s lower house of parliament – is expected to play a key role in the direction of government policy during Mr Macron’s second term, after the president failed to gain an absolute majority at the legislative elections. 

Read more: Power shift in France: President Macron needs MPs to compromise

The chamber is divided into three factions: 153 MPs for far-left and left-affiliated parties, 245 MPs for Mr Macron’s Ensemble coalition and 164 for right and far-right affiliated parties.

Related articles

France prepares measures to prevent winter energy shortages

Military parade but less fireworks: How France is celebrating July 14

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