Violations of the rights of the paperless
In a new report, the Human Rights Ombudsman criticizes conditions for
paperless migrants in refugee camps in northern France. Their fundamental rights
have been violated. The conditions in the temporary camps in Calais,
Grande-Synthe and Ouistreham on the English Channel are disastrous. Even in
Paris, the problems are great. The fact that the authorities have destroyed
camps meant that the migrants had no roof over their heads and the police
sometimes used tear gas to evacuate camps. The report on the treatment of
unaccompanied minors is particularly critical.
Overview of the capital city of France, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Protests for the fifth weekend in a row
According to the Interior Ministry, the Yellow West demonstrations gather
66,000 people across the country. That's almost half as many as a week ago. In
Paris, there is a handgun between protesters and police, who use tear gas to
disperse a group trying to break through the police barriers.
Several dead in terrorist act in Strasbourg
A lone man opens fire to people at a Christmas market in Strasbourg. Four
people are killed and several are injured. The offender manages to escape from
the scene, but he is killed two days later in connection with a police chase. He
is identified as an Islamist who was radicalized while serving a prison
sentence. A few days later one of the injured dies.
Macron promises to raise the minimum wage
Two days after the Yellow West demonstrations and violent protests shook the
country for the fourth weekend in a row, President Macron apologizes to the
French people in a televised speech. To appease the Yellow West, he promises to
raise the minimum wage by 100 euros a month. The government will also lower the
tax for pensioners, while the tax on overtime work will also be abolished.
However, the president will not reintroduce wealth tax - one of the demands of
the protesters - which was removed a year ago.
The government reverses price increases on fuel
In an attempt to meet the protesters in the Yellow West movement and have
them interrupt the ongoing protests, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe first
announced in a live TV talk that the planned increase in gasoline and diesel
prices will be postponed by six months. According to the government, increases
in electricity and gas prices that would be introduced in January should also be
postponed for a few months, as well as planned tightened emission controls for
cars. After receiving signals from the protesters that this is not enough and
that the protests will continue, Macron and the government shortly afterwards
make a full reversal. Now they announce that the price increases will be
completely halted in 2019 and that a discussion will be held, among other
things, in Parliament on how France can be more climate friendly without
affecting individual French people financially.
The government holds a crisis meeting after the Paris riots
About 260 people are injured and over 400 are arrested when the Yellow West
organizes protests across the country for the third weekend in a row. In total,
more than 100,000 French demonstrators. While protests are still relatively calm
in much of the country, the demonstrations in Paris degenerate into the most
violent in 50 years. Black-clad, masked anarchists and right-wing extremists are
said to have joined the protesters and burnt cars, broken shop windows and
destroyed houses. Tourist destinations such as the Champs-Elysees, the Louvre,
and the Arc de Triomphe are also vandalized. 133 people are injured, of which 23
are security police. President Macron holds a crisis meeting with several
ministers and security services. Prime Minister Eduoard Philippe is tasked with
starting a dialogue with the protest leaders.
14 nuclear power plants will be closed by 2035
President Macron announces that there will be a change towards a more
climate-friendly policy. The country's four remaining coal-fired power plants
will be shut down by 2022 and the use of renewable energy as wind power will
increase sharply by 2030. The energy conversion will also mean that 14 of the
country's 58 nuclear reactors will be closed during the period until 2035.
Mass protests against increased gas and diesel prices
Nearly 300,000 people demonstrate in many parts of the country at high prices
for gasoline and diesel. The popular protests, which are organized by a group
called the Yellow West (after the traffic jackets that must be used by car
drivers in France, for example, in motor stops), block traffic on several roads
and cause major disruptions. One person is killed in connection with the
protests and hundreds are injured. At the same time as taxes on petrol and
diesel have increased, a further increase in diesel prices is planned in early
2019, as a way for the government to influence the French to choose more
environmentally friendly cars. Demonstrations and roadblocks continued during
the week that followed and in Paris police used tear gas to disperse protesters.
Right-wing extremists planned attacks on Macron
Four people linked to right-wing extremist movements are being indicted for
planning an attack on President Macron. The attack would have taken place in
conjunction with ceremonies in connection with the celebration of the end of the
First World War on 11 November.
France extends border controls
The French government extends checks at the borders of Belgium, Luxembourg,
Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain for another six months. Identity checks
are considered necessary due to terrorist threats in the country. France
reintroduced border controls following the Paris 2015 terrorist attacks.
Completely suspected Iranians are punished
French authorities freeze assets for several people linked to the Iranian
government and security services. Iranians are suspected of involvement in plans
for a bomb attack against a meeting of exile Iranians outside Paris (see
June 30). Iran claims it is all a misunderstanding. The leadership of
the regime-critical organization People's Mujahedin (MEK) and many of its
supporters live in exile in France.
Another minister resigns
President Macron suffers another setback when Secretary of State Gerard
Collomb, one of Macron's most important allies in the government, resigns.
Macron refuses to accept a first farewell application filed by Collomb on
October 1. But when Collomb submits another farewell application the next day,
Macron resigns and approves it. Collomb plans to run for mayor of Lyon - a post
he previously held.
Popular artist Aznavour dies
The French-Armenian singer and actor Charles Aznavour dies at the age of 94.
Aznavour, born as Chahnour Varinag Aznavourian in Paris with parents of Armenian
descent, had one of the world's most long-standing artist careers with
appearances up to a very high age. He has often been called France's Frank
Sinatra and got his breakthrough at the classical concert hall Olympia in Paris
in the 1950s.
The Minister for the Environment resigns in live broadcast
Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot surprisingly announces that he plans to
resign during a radio interview. The reason he leaves the government is that "he
felt completely alone" in driving environmental issues in the government and
that these issues always "fall at the bottom of the priority list". The decision
comes shortly after it was decided that the price of a hunting license should be
halved, something that the animal rights advocate and vegetarian Hulot have been
critical of. The popular environmental activist Hulot has a background as a
program manager for a TV program on environmental issues. His departure is a
defeat for President Macron and is believed to adversely affect the view of the
government's climate policy.
Macron implicated in scandal surrounding bodyguard
The opposition is accusing the government and Macron of trying to conceal a
security adviser and bodyguard to the president for, among other things,
defeating first-party protesters wearing police helmets. Macron is criticized by
the opposition for allowing the bodyguard, after being suspended for two weeks,
to continue on his post. After the event becomes known, the bodyguard is fired
at the same time as Macron chooses to carry out a major reorganization in its
immediate circle. Hearings are also being made in Parliament by Macron's staff.
The scandal is the most serious for Macron since he became president.
Le Pen's party financially threatened
Marine Le Pen, party leader of the National Collection, previously called the
National Front, states that the party is in a crisis that could threaten its
existence. According to Le Pen, there is no means to pay salaries to employees.
The reason is that EU judges decided to withhold two million euros of support to
be given to the party. The whole thing is an attempt to guarantee that the
European Parliament gets back money that EU parliamentarians from the National
Assembly, according to an ongoing investigation, wrongly paid to assistants. In
addition, the European Parliament recently demanded that the political
parliamentary group that includes the National Assembly should repay EUR 500,000
which the parties correctly listed as expenses and demanded compensation for,
including expensive dinners and champagne.
France offers 80 refugees from asylum rescue vessels
France grants 80 people from the Aquarius refugee boat, which was received by
Spain after Italy and Malta refused to allow it to call ports in their
countries. French authorities say that they interviewed 135 people from mainly
African countries who were on board Aquarius. France also promises to receive 52
people rescued from the sea by the German boat Lifeline and now in Malta.
Iranian diplomat suspected in bomb plot
An official at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna has been arrested on suspicion
of involvement in a bomb plot on French soil against an Iranian opposition
movement, the People's Mujahedin. Iran claims that the accusations, which have
led to a seizure in several European countries, are false and aimed at
overshadowing a trip that President Rohani will make in Europe following the US
resignation from the agreement on Iran's nuclear program.
Parliament approves rail reform
The Senate says yes to changes in the state railway company SNCF, which will,
among other things, be reorganized and converted into a public limited company.
The parliamentary decision is yet another success for Macron's reform policy.
Since April, train strikes have been held by train drivers and other railway
workers in protest of the reform. But gradually, the number of employees who
participated in the strikes has thinned out. According to the government, the
indebted SNCF needs to cut costs and increase its efficiency.
The IMF commends Macron's reform policy
The recovery of the French economy is impressive, the IMF believes, and
provides strong support for President Macron's reforms, including the changes to
the SNCF state railway. But it is important that the reform policy continues in
order for the economic situation to continue to improve, according to the
Migrant camps are evacuated in Paris
The largest migrant camp in Paris, called Millenaire, near the Porte de la
Villette metro station is evacuated by police. Over 1,700 people from mainly
Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia live in the camp. In the wake of the refugee crisis
in Europe 2015, several camps were formed in Paris. Two more camps in the
capital are to be closed down by the police.
Terrorist act in Paris
One man is killed and four seriously injured in a knife attack in central
Paris. The perpetrator is a French national with roots in Chechnya. The
terrorist movement IS assumes responsibility for the act.
The National Assembly approves tougher immigration law
According to the proposal for a new tougher immigration legislation, the time
for keeping migrants illegally staying in the country can be kept in detention
from 45 to 90 days. The asylum process should also be made more efficient and
shortened from one year to six months, so that refugees will be notified faster
if they are granted asylum. The bill will be raised in the Senate in June.
Protests against Macron's reforms
Over one hundred thousand Frenchmen demonstrate against Macron's planned
reforms across the country. In Paris, the demonstrations gather around 10,000
people. It is the left-wing trade union CGT that has called for the
demonstrations against Macron's planned changes and cuts in the public sector.
Not least, the planned turnaround of the state railway company SNCF raises upset
France participates in bomb attack against Syria
Along with the United States and the United Kingdom, France launches bomb
attacks on plants in Syria where the regime is reported to manufacture chemical
weapons. The attacks are a response to the information that Bashar al-Assad's
regime used chemical weapons against residents of the city of Duma, Syria.
President Macron says France "cannot tolerate the normalization of chemical
Train strikes in protest of railway reform
Comprehensive railway strikes are held in the country. The unions have called
for a two-day strike for train employees every five days for the next three
months. The strikes are held in protest of Macron's turnaround plans by the
railway company SNCF.
Russian diplomats are expelled
France expels four Russian diplomats as a result of a nerve poisoning attack
on a Russian former spy and his daughter in the UK in early March. It is taking
place in concerted action with some 20 countries, mainly in the EU, in
solidarity with the British government accusing Russia of being behind the
attack. In total, over 100 Russian diplomats are expelled, 60 of whom are from
the United States. Moscow denies all involvement in the poison attack and
threatens with countermeasures.
Four dead after terrorist acts
24th of March
A 25-year-old man born in Morocco kills four people in the terrorist attack
in Carcassone, southern France. One of them is a policeman who hands himself to
the perpetrator in exchange for a woman taken hostage.
New prosecution against Sarkozy
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy is indicted for corruption and illegal
financing. According to prosecutors, Sarkozy should have received support for
his 2007 election campaign from former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Sarkozy is
also being investigated in connection with two other ongoing charges: one for
having used false invoices in connection with the 2012 election and one where he
is suspected of trying to exert influence on a judge.
The government wants to increase the defense budget
According to a bill proposed by the government, military force spending is to
be increased from EUR 34 billion in 2018 to EUR 50 billion in 2025. Thus, the
defense budget will meet NATO's target that defense budgets among its members
should equal 2 percent of GDP.
Macron dismisses claims by Corsican nationalists
During a visit to Corsica, President Macron says no to Corsican recognition
as an official language in France and to giving islanders priority over other
French people in the Corsican real estate market. Nor does he agree with the
demands of politicians in the nationalist regime in Corsica that detained
Corsican separatists be released. On the other hand, he is positive to another
of the nationalists' wishes: that Corsica is specifically mentioned in the
The economy is growing faster than in many years
30th of January
France's gross domestic product grew by 1.9 percent in 2017, new figures from
the statistics authority show. It was a clear improvement over 2016, and the
best result in six years. Economic growth was particularly stimulated by
increasing investments, at the same time as exports and imports increased.
Macron wants to strengthen the EU
At the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, President Macron
proposes that the EU develop a ten-year strategy to strengthen the Union. Among
other things, he believes that the EU should focus on energy, digital
technology, migration and investment.
Border agreement at summit with UK
At President Macron's first state visit to the UK, he agrees with British
Prime Minister Theresa May on further cooperation on the common border. The two
heads of state decided to stick to a 15-year-old border agreement, which allows
countries to carry out immigration checks in the border area. At the same time,
a new agreement was signed that France, with the UK paying an additional € 50
million, should strengthen surveillance and security at Calais and other port
cities to prevent refugees from trying to enter the UK illegally. Britain will
also be allowed to borrow the famous medieval so-called Bayeux wallpaper in
2022, which shows William the Conqueror's invasion of England 1066.
The birth rate decreases
France is still the country in the EU where most children are born, but the
number of births is decreasing. Ireland ranks second when it comes to childbirth
in the EU. In 2017, 767,000 children were born in France, a decrease of just
over 2 percentage points compared to 2016. On average, French women now give
birth to 1.88 children. At the same time, the proportion of older people in the
population is also increasing.
Migration problems in focus for EU countries in the south
Leaders of seven EU countries in southern Europe (France, Spain, Cyprus,
Greece, Italy, Malta and Portugal) gather for a summit in Rome. There, they make
a joint statement expressing their support for the EU's common migration policy.
They have agreed that the EU needs to strengthen the guarding of the Union's
external border, fight human smuggling and do more to address problems in
migrant homelands. They call on all EU countries to do more to help those
countries receiving the most asylum seekers / migrants.
Record number of asylum applications 2017
Statistics show that over 100,000 people applied for asylum in France in
2017. That was a historically high number according to the French refugee agency
OFPRA. Most applications came from Albanians, although Albania is defined as a
"safe" country by a French government.