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FRANCE

Young French people ‘head to Madrid’ to avoid curfews and closures

Young people in France have been flocking to Madrid for the weekend in order to skip restrictions and weekend lockdowns that have been imposed in some areas of their own country, according to a report by Madrid's TV channel TeleMadrid.

Madrid airport
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

Although Covid-19 infection figures in Madrid remain high, the Spanish capital has relatively relaxed restrictions compared to France and the rest of Spain.

In France, there is a nightly curfew between 6pm and 6am, while in Madrid the curfew only starts at 11pm.

All bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and museums also remain closed in France, while in Madrid bars and restaurants can stay open until the 11pm curfew, accepting their last customers at 10pm.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The updated Covid-19 rules and restrictions for regions around Spain

There is a limited capacity of 50 percent inside restaurants, but there is no limit on the terraces and up to six people can sit at one table outside.

Now, young people in France have reportedly cottoned on to the big differences in restrictions between the two countries and have been heading to the capital to escape for the weekend.

“The flights were absolutely full,” said one guy being interviewed by TeleMadrid at Madrid Barajas airport on Friday.

When asked why he had come to Spain, he simply said “for the restaurants”.

Another young French woman being interviewed said that she had come “for the fiestas”, while a third claimed that flights are “very cheap right now. You can find return flights from France to Madrid for around 70 to 150 euros.” 

Rules in other parts of Spain are not so relaxed, though.

In Catalonia, bars and restaurants have only been allowed to open for breakfast and again for lunch, and from Monday, March 8th, will be able to open until 5pm only. A curfew of 10pm has also been imposed in the coastal city.

Madrid currently has Spain’s third-highest coronavirus incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants at 242, just behind Melilla and Ceuta.

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  7. How will they come back though? You need to prove that you didn’t travel out of France before the 31st of January to be able to return.

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POLITICS

Ukraine and EVs: What Macron and Biden will discuss in Washington

French leader Emmanuel Macron is in Washington - with several of his ministers - on an official state visit, but some of his discussions with US president Joe Biden could be tricky - here's what the two will talk about.

Ukraine and EVs: What Macron and Biden will discuss in Washington

Macron is hoping his US state visit can produce meaningful concessions for European industry as it smarts from massive US green subsidies – but the chances of a major win look slim, according to a Joe Biden ally, Senator Chris Coons.

Coons, a Democratic Senator for Delaware and leader of the Congressional French Caucus, talked to AFP about the French president’s visit and goals.

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act offers generous support to US industry, such as subsidies for US-made electric vehicles, batteries and renewable energy projects, as part of a push to address climate change. Can Macron obtain exemptions for European industries to share in the huge US market, including EU-made electric cars?

Sen Coons: “I think this is an important but difficult conversation. We passed in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) the single largest investment in a clean energy transition in the history of the United States, and some would argue the largest investment by any country.”

However, Coons explained, the bill was only barely approved by Congress, and the provision on the manufacturing of electric vehicles in North America was “very important” to Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote was crucial in passing it.

Still, can France make any inroads on this?

Sen Coons: “It will be a delicate negotiation; my state benefits immensely from French investments.”

Both aircraft manufacturer Dassault Falcon and industrial gas producer Air Liquide are in Delaware.

“It is our hope that we will find a path forward where we will increase technology transfer and foreign direct investment by the United States and American companies in France and by French companies in the United States.

“I’m expecting that this conversation about IRA and subsidies for electric vehicles will be on the agenda for the conversation between our two
presidents.”

“The war in Ukraine will also be discussed by Macron and Biden. Is the United States pushing for a negotiated end?”

Sen Coons: “No. I think it was important that President Zelensky recently indicated of course he is open to negotiating. He laid out the terms, which were the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty and security guarantees, that strike me as reasonable. “

“If we were to pressure Zelensky into surrendering territory, I don’t see how that would either deter (President Vladimir) Putin, make Ukraine more safe or produce a stable outcome.”

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