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LIVING IN FRANCE

On the agenda: What’s happening in France this week

Here's a round-up of what's happening in France on the week beginning April 26th.

On the agenda: What's happening in France this week
Is Emmanuel Macron planning another TV appearance? Photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP

Monday, April 26th

Schools return to classes after the rescheduled Easter holidays. Primary and infant schools restart in-person teaching after a three-week break, while secondary schools and high schools (collèges and lycées) have one more week of distance learning.

Close family members or co-habitees of people with a compromised immune system are now eligible for a Covid vaccine, whatever their age.

READ ALSO When will you be eligible for a Covid vaccine?

Launch of the #MarchesAttaque campaign, which looks at accessibility of public spaces for disabled people, which campaigners say is extremely poor in many areas of France.

Tuesday, April 27th

Publication of unemployment figures for the first trimester of 2021, a figure that will be anxiously scrutinised to asses the impact of the year-long health restrictions and the government financial aid packages.

Debate between leading candidates for the Île-de-France region ahead of the regional elections, which have been pushed back to June because of the health situation.

The European Parliament to vote on ratifying the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement that defines post-Brexit relations with Britain. Ahead of the meeting, French fishermen have been staging protests over what they say is a failure of UK authorities to grant them fishing licences.

Wednesday, April 28th

Debate in the European Parliament on vaccine passports, which EU leaders hope to have in place to allow travel to open up over the summer.

Meeting of the Defence Council which looks at the latest Covid health situation and restrictions. On the agenda is the plan to reopen France, which begins on May 3rd with the scrapping of the 10km rule and is expected to continue in ‘mid May’ with the reopening of non-essential shops and café terraces – however this could be done on a regional basis for areas with low infection rates.

MAP Which areas of France have the lowest Covid levels?

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin will present to ministers proposals for new anti-terror measures in the wake of the attack on Friday in which a female police administrative worker was murdered by a Tunisian man who had reportedly been radicalised after watching Islamist material online.

Thursday, April 29th

Possible TV appearance from president Emmanuel Macron? It has been reported that the president wants to make a TV address “at the end of April” to lay out in more detail the plans for reopening France. However this has not been confirmed.

Friday, April 30th

Public statistics body INSEE set to publish estimates for France’s financial outlook for the first part of 2021.

Saturday, May 1st

May Day protests and demonstrations. These will be smaller than the traditional May Day events, but there are some events planned including in Paris to mark the Fête du Travail. Normally May 1st is a public holiday, but as it unfortunately falls on a Saturday this year there is no extra day off work.

READ ALSO The French holiday calendar for 2021

Sunday, May 2nd

Easter in the Orthodox church.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier

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