Government ministers have been told they should keep their Christmas and New Year breaks to a minimum as the country moves into a crucial election year.

"/> Government ministers have been told they should keep their Christmas and New Year breaks to a minimum as the country moves into a crucial election year.

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NICOLAS SARKOZY

Sarkozy warns ministers against long holidays

Government ministers have been told they should keep their Christmas and New Year breaks to a minimum as the country moves into a crucial election year.

Sarkozy warns ministers against long holidays
World Economic Forum

Daily newspaper Le Figaro reported on Friday that President Sarkozy issued his instructions at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“You should go away for the minimum amount of time and as close as possible [to Paris] and stay 100 percent ready during the holidays,” the newspaper reported him as saying.

Ministers seem to be largely obeying the edict, with most claiming they will shuttle between Paris and their constituency homes.

With both Christmas and New Year falling on weekends this year there are no public holidays in France at all during the holiday season.

The president himself will stay close to Paris by staying in his official residence of La Lanterne in the western suburb of Versailles.

Prime minister Francois Fillon will “shuttle backwards and forwards between Paris and La Sarthe,” where he has his constituency, according to an official spokesman.

Ministers have been busy as the country grapples with the eurozone crisis, a series of airport strikes and the ongoing threat to the country’s triple A rating.

2012 is a critical year with presidential elections due to take place in late April and parliamentary elections shortly afterwards. President Sarkozy currently trails his leading opponent in the polls, Socialist Francois Hollande.

One minister told the newspaper that such a demand from the president was only to be expected.

“French people are worried,” said Edouard Courtial, the minister for French people abroad. “We have fought to get here and we shouldn’t complain.”

He himself will take “four days of recuperation in Auvergne” where he plans to “sleep, read, go for walks with my children and watch TV.”

Certain ministers will need to be on duty over the festive period.

Interior minister Claude Guéant will spend New Year’s Eve monitoring events with police officers. Health minister Xavier Bertrand will visit hospitals at the same time.

Most ministers appeared to be sticking to their boss’s decree, although occasional bursts of defiance were in evidence.

According to colleagues, one minister plans to “take off for Dubai on Wednesday and spend ten days there with his family.” Perhaps to help him keep his job, Le Figaro chose not to name the sun-seeking rebel.

twitter.com/matthew_warren

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New flights to south of France launched by Jet2

The low-cost British airline Jet2 has announced it will begin operating new services between the UK and southern France, starting in the summer of 2022.

New flights to south of France launched by Jet2
Flights will operate from May 1st 2022. Photo: AFP

When travelling is possible again, getting to Toulouse from the north-west of England is set to become much easier with the launch of new flights from Manchester Airport.

Jet2 already flies to Bergerac, La Rochelle and Nice. The company announced the new destination in response to demand for summer 2022 holidays.

Flights to the “Pink City” in south west France will operate from May 1st until October 16th 2022.

“Since putting our Summer 2022 programme on sale from Manchester Airport, we have added a significant number of flights and destinations in response to the demand from customers who want to get their all-important holidays booked in,” Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said in a press release.

Since the British government announced a lockdown roadmap on Tuesday, with plans to end England restrictions by June 21st, the company has begun to see a surge in bookings.

READ ALSO: Will summer holidays in France be possible this year?

However the present rules on entry into France from the UK are the strictest they have ever been, with virtually no travel allowed between the two countries and no end-date to the current restrictions.

Jet2 plans to reopen its services in mid-May.

“Following the UK government announcement that international travel will not return until May 17th 2021 at the earliest, we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 16th May 2021,” Jet2 said on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/jet2tweets/status/1364188796506562561

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