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Spending power, judges, Jean Castex: This week in French politics

Discussion around measures to improve public spending power moves to the Senate after heated debate amongst MPs

Senators will study and review amendments to the spending power bill Pic: Alex Dobrov / Jo Bouroch / Victor Joly / Mikalai Kachanovich / Shutterstock

Senators will study a set of measures aimed at improving people’s spending power after its contents were passed by MPs on Friday.

For more information on the laws adopted in the bill, see the article below.

Read more: Cooking oil as fuel, pensions: MPs approve French spending power bill

The bill was voted on Friday morning (341 in favour, 116 against and 21 abstentions) after four days of heated debate. 

The government’s proposed measures received support from members of conservative Les Républicains (LR) and far-right Rassemblement National (RN), who said that they were moving “in the right direction”. 

This week, MPs will study amendments to several different bills, elect judges to the Cour de justice de la République – the court charged with examining cases of ministerial misconduct – and hear from former prime minister Jean Castex. 

Assemblée nationale

Monday, June 25

  • MPs will study amendments to a bill that looks to maintain “health security in the fight against Covid”.

Read more: French MPs and senators agree on new potential Covid border checks

This bill has been transferred to the Assemblée nationale by the commission mixte paritaire (joint committee), which is composed of 7 MPs and 7 senators from both chambers and was charged with finding a compromise between them after certain articles were rejected by MPs but approved by the Senate. 

Included in the bill are proposals to continue using SI‑DEP and Contact Covid, two governmental tools employed to track the spread of Covid. 

The commission mixte paritaire also introduced an article enabling the government to require the presentation of a negative Covid test at international borders if a new, dangerous variant of the virus emerges. 

This comes as health pass requirements for international travel are set to end on July 31.

Read more: Senate votes to keep ability to impose Covid pass at French borders
Read more: French MPs block maintaining Covid pass for international travellers

  • MPs will study modifications to a bill that looks to tighten regulations on online content related to terrorism, also brought by the commission mixte paritaire.

The bill seeks to change French laws with regards to Terrorist Online Content (TCO), a European-Union regulation from 2018 that looked to increase scrutiny on the circulation of material linked to terrorist activity and give websites an hour to remove any such material. 

Amendments include new responsibilities for French communication regulation authority (ARCOM) and tougher legal sanctions for service providers which do not abide by the one-hour rule.  

Tuesday, June 26

  • Parliament will elect 12 of the 15 judges of the Cour de justice de la République (CJR.) 

The CJR is a French judicial body that examines cases of ministerial misconduct. Its services can be engaged by any French or foreign citizen who suspects that a crime has been committed by a member of the government.

It was created by former socialist president François Mitterrand in 1993. 

This followed the infected blood scandal brought by a journalist that proved a French laboratory injected blood knowing it was contaminated by HIV and for which three members of the government -- including then prime minister Laurent Fabius – were charged with manslaughter.

The appointed judges are to take an oath on Wednesday at 15:00.

  • MPs will hear Minister of Energy Agnès Pannier-Runacher on the goals surrounding the government’s “energy-saving plan”. 

Read more: French supermarkets agree to energy-saving measures to control prices

Wednesday, June 27

  • Former prime minister Jean Castex will make a statement regarding a decision from President Emmanuel Macron to nominate him president of the Agence de financement des infrastructures de transport de France (AFITF.)

The AFITF is a government public institution that participates in financing infrastructure projects.

  • MPs will nominate a recorder to a bill looking to agree on a collaborative naval initiative between France and the UK in the Channel with regards to migrant crossings. 

The recorder is a senator who can propose amendments, participate in debates and influence votes in the Assemblée nationale and the Senate. 

Read more: Channel deaths: French rescuers ‘very probably’ received distress call

Thursday, June 28

  • The Government will open the session with an address on France’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, which ran from January 1 to June 31, 2022. The presidency has now been passed on to the Czech Republic.

Senate

Monday, June 25

  • Senators will study the spending power bill passed by MPs last week. 

Mps agreed to cap rent increases at 3.5% in metropolitan France and to simplify the process for cancelling phone and internet contracts, among other measures. 

Read more: France votes to reduce cost of cancelling phone contracts early

In addition, pensions and social aids are to be boosted by 4%, civil servant wages increased by 3.5% and the ‘chèque alimentaire’ food price aid for lower-income households will come to €100. 

The bill is expected to cost €20billion. 

Amendments to the bill will be studied on Thursday and Friday in public sessions.

Tuesday, June 26

  • Senators will hear from Mr Castex with regards to his appointment to the AFITF.

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Explainer: What is France’s Assemblée nationale and how does it work?

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