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What’s coming up? The week ahead in France

Medical testing laboratories go on strike, local tax deadlines loom for some, France’s fuel discount reduces, a hunting accident trial begins and more

We look at what the week ahead has in store for people in France Pic: ThePowerPlant / t.sableaux / baileyc1 / Freedomz / Shutterstock

Medical test laboratories on strike 

Workers in French testing laboratories have been called to strike for at least three days from today (November 14) over a conflict with the government about test tariffs.

This strike will be “renewable” and means that no tests, such as blood or PCR tests, will be carried out in nine out of every 10 French laboratories.

In emergencies, patients will be directed to clinical or hospital settings, which will remain open, the Alliance de la biologie médicale (ABM) has said. 

This union represents 90% of laboratory biologists and participation in the strike is expected to be significant. 

The profession has been protesting for the past month over the projet de loi de financement de la Sécurité sociale (social security budget bill), which is being debated by the Senate. 

This bill includes a measure requiring testing laboratories to reduce their tariffs for common types of tests, apart from Covid. The government justified this by arguing that laboratory revenues have increased over recent years because of the Covid pandemic.

In this way, the state is aiming to save €250million in 2023, an objective which has provoked anger among laboratories. 

It then emerged that the economies testing laboratories are now expected to make will be increased to €280million in 2023 and €332million per year between 2024 and 2026.

Read more: Medical testing laboratories go on three-day strike in France

Government fuel discount reduces 

Drivers in France have until tomorrow evening (November 15) to benefit from the government’s 30-cent-per-litre discount on fuel. 

From Wednesday (November 16), this discount will be reduced to 10 cents per litre, and then will be removed altogether after December 31. 

TotalEnergies’ 20-cent-per-litre discount on fuel at its petrol stations will also be cut to 10 cents per litre from Wednesday. 

Taxe d’habitation deadlines 

If you still pay taxe d’habitation on a main home this year, you should have received your bill, either in your personal online tax space – with an email notifying you that it is ready if you opted to go 'completely online' – and/or by post.

Read more: Taxe d’habitation deadline approaches in France: Who still pays this?

Those (usually second-home owners) with payment deadlines in December should have their avis this week and paper copies will arrive this month. 

If you do not pay online, but rather by cash, cheque, card or TIP Sepa payment, you have until tomorrow November 15 for bills payable in November. 

If you do pay online or through the impots.gouv.fr app, you have until November 20. The money will leave your account on November 25. Direct debits will be taken on the same date. 

Since 2019, any bill for more than €300 must be paid online. 

Announcement on France’s energy policy 

On Wednesday, the government will make an announcement on its policy regarding energy consumption before the Assemblée nationale. 

This will be followed by a debate on the subject, but no vote. 

A march for murdered Lola, 12 

Also on Wednesday, a march will take place in Paris as a tribute to Lola, the 12-year-old girl who was murdered in the capital on October 14. 

Read more: Suspect in murder of Lola, 12: What is a OQTF order to leave France?

The body of Lola, who lived in a block of flats in the 19th arrondissement with her family, was found in a plastic trunk dumped near her flat building after she failed to return home from school that day. 

She had been injured but police found that she died due to cardiorespiratory failure "with signs of asphyxiation and cervical compression".

A 24-year-old woman, named as Dahbia B., is accused of having committed her murder and rape as well as acts of torture. She is being held in Fresnes prison, south of Paris.

Trial over hunting accident death of Morgan Keane

On Thursday (November 17), two people will go on trial for the death of Morgan Keane, a 25-year-old French man who was hit in his garden by a stray bullet fired by a hunter on December 2, 2020. 

Read more: Trial date set for French hunter after man shot dead in garden

Mr Keane was chopping wood on his property, 100 metres from his house in Calvignac, Lot, when he was killed.

Both the hunter who fired the bullet and the organiser of the hunt will be tried for involuntary homicide during a hunt, which is punishable by three years in prison, a €75,000 fine, a five-year ban on possessing a firearm and the permanent withdrawal of one’s hunting permit.

Prosecution lawyer Benoît Coussy, has said that “a certain number of factual elements attest that the hunter who shot [the bullet] may have been made perfectly aware by his fellow hunters of the presence of two boys [Mr Keane and his brother Rowan] in the two hours preceding the tragedy.” 

Mr Keane’s death provoked outrage across France, with a march organised in his honour and a group of his friends launching a petition – ‘Un jour, un chasseur’ – calling for stricter safety rules and two hunt-free days a week. 

Read more: Hundreds join march in honour of French man shot by hunter

Read more: Friends of man killed by hunters fight to change French law

This petition gained the 100,000 signatures needed for a Senate debate on the issue, and 40 different audiences with organisations and individuals have been held over this year. 

A report relating to these testimonies was published this month, with recommendations to improve training practices and more effectively prevent people from hunting while inebriated. 

However, the Un jour, un chasseur group has criticised the report, saying that it dismisses almost all of the measures demanded in the original petition, even though they are “supported by an immense majority of people in rural settings”. 

Last prime exceptionnelle de rentrée payments

Since September 15, the government has been sending out primes exceptionnelles de rentrée payments to help lower-income households with the rising cost of living.

The support comes to €100, plus an extra €50 for each dependent child. Some 10.8 million households receiving state benefits or student bursaries were set to benefit.

On November 15, the last group of recipients – people who benefit from the prime d’activité for low-income workers – will get their payment but it will be for a reduced amount. They will receive €28, plus €14 for each dependent child.

Beaujolais Nouveau Day

At 00:01 on the third Thursday of November – November 17 this year – more than one million cases of Beaujolais wine start their journey across France, and a race begins to get the first bottles out to markets around the world.

Beaujolais Nouveau is different to other French wines in that it is drunk almost immediately after harvesting, and is known for its cheerful unpretentiousness.

It is sold in 110 countries around the world and Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked with fireworks, music and festivals.

National Day of Monaco

The Principality of Monaco has strong links with France and it may be of interest that Saturday (November 19) marks the National Day of Monaco, which is also known as the Sovereign Prince’s Day and is typically celebrated with fireworks over the harbour the night before.

Monegasque residents hang flags out of their windows and the Prince and his family make an appearance at the Palace.

The public holiday is an opportunity to witness the pomp of Monegasque tradition, with the Knights of Malta wearing their uniforms and medals as they attend mass at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral.

100th anniversary of death of Marcel Proust 

Friday (November 18) marks 100 years to the day since the death of celebrated French novelist and essayist Marcel Proust. 

Proust is most famous for his novel A la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past). The work was published in seven volumes between 1913 and 1927, and comes to around 3,200 pages, with 2,000 characters. 

Proust died before he could finish the final volumes, so they were edited and posthumously released by his brother Robert. 

Sommet de la francophonie 

Saturday will see the start of the Sommet de la francophonie (French-speaking world summit) in Djerba (Tunisia). 

These summits are held once every two years, bringing together the heads of state of the Organisation internationale de la francophonie.

They will discuss a range of topics including the world economy, human rights, education culture and democracy, and how the francophonie orients itself within this global context. 

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Covid: Daily updates on the situation in France

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