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What will change in France in 2017

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What will change in France in 2017
Goodbye 2016. All photos: AFP
17:37 CET+01:00
The new year bring some new rules for France. Here's how your life will change.

Here's a rundown of the main changes you need to know about.

Ban on smacking children
 
As of this year, parents are no longer allowed to smack their children, almost 40 years after Sweden was the first to ban corporal punishment back in 1979.
 
The new civil code says that there is now a ban on "all cruel, degrading or humiliating treatment, including any recourse to corporal violence".
 
It's just a symbolic law as for now, with no penalties for those found guilty. New couples will have a reminder of the new law added to their wedding services from now on. 
 
Photo: WikiCommons
 
All French citizens are automatically organ donors
 
Yes, if you're a French citizen then you are now an organ donor (as of January 1st) - unless you specifically opt out by signing this register.
 
The move is already in place in other European countries.
 
The (somewhat gory) video below was released in November to encourage young people to donate their organs. 
 
(The video, in French, shows a young woman dying in a horror film, but adds that she is an organ donor and will therefore save lives).
 
 
France will get a new president
 
At one point the 2017 presidential election was looking like a battle between Marine Le Pen, Nicolas Sarkozy and the incumbent President Francois Hollande. So pretty much the same as 2012.
 
But then in the space of a week Hollande, Juppe and Sarkozy were all knocked out of the race for varying reasons leaving a fresh-looking field, including former whizzkid banker Emmanuel Macron to take on the now veteran and very much part of the establishment Marine Le Pen. According to the polls, however, it's Francois Fillon (pictured below) who is leading the race so far. 
 
 
 
From January 1st, a new employment law entered into force that obliges organisations with more than 50 workers to start negotiations to define the rights of employees to ignore their smartphones.
   
Overuse of digital devices has been blamed for everything from burnout to sleeplessness as well as relationship problems, with many employees uncertain of when they can switch off.
 
 
France gives workers 'right to disconnect' from work email
 
 
Good news for fans of budget travel. EasyJet has promised to open 16 new connections to different French cities, including three new connections to London. 
 
The company is creating 72 jobs and acquiring two new planes based in Nice and Toulouse to cope with the development.
 
 
 
 
After August saw scores of swimmers plunging into the Bassin de la Villette - a man-made waterway in north east Paris - in defiance of a 1923 law, Paris authorities have realized that it's time for a change.
 
They have announced plans open pools in the canal for the whole summer in 2017. Read more here. 
 
Paris aims for free canal swimming pool for summero
 

Paris vehicles to get “pollution stickers” 

A new sticker system (vignettes) will be rolled out in mid-January that means all vehicles in the French capital must have a sticker that corresponds to how polluting it is.

The stickers are all colour-coded with green for the cleanest cars and grey for the most pollutant. In future when there are spikes in air pollution those with the “dirtiest” cars will have to leave them at home.

 

No plastic bags for fruit and veg

While plastic bags were banned from supermarkets in France back in July last year, the ban will be extended to fruit and veg markets.

From January onwards bags used for fruit and veg must be made of a biodegradable substance, like paper.

 
 

Bank charges to rise

Anyone with a French bank account and a debit card will have to fork out more for it next year. As reported in The Local earlier this month the fees imposed for banking services will rise next year, in some cases quite significantly.

One report says the fee for having an account could rise as much as 13 percent. CLICK HERE for more info.

Some may not need to pay at the doctors

The new health law passed last July that means patients will no longer have to pay up front when seeing a general doctor.

The law came into force with the new year, although only for pregnant women or people with long term illnesses.

These two groups of patients will no longer be required to pay upfront, however everyone else will have to wait until November 2017, before they too, can leave their €23 at home.

 
From the end of March, all children under the age of 12 must wear a helmet if they are riding a bicycle in France. 
 
If they don't, they risk a fine of 90 euros. 
 
 
Several smaller changes will also come into effect this month, click here to read about them
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