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UKRAINE

Macron vows response ‘without weakness’ to Russian invasion of Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday warned Russia of an uncompromising response to its attack on Ukraine, which he described as a turning point in European history.

Macron vows response 'without weakness' to Russian invasion of Ukraine
French president Emmanuel Macron, standing in front of a Ukrainian flag, addresses the nation on Thursday. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

“We will respond without weakness to this act of war, with calm, determination and unity,” Macron said in an address to the nation, adding that the events were a “turning point in the history of Europe and our country” that would have “deep and lasting consequences for our lives.”

Standing in front of a Ukrainian flag alongside the usual French and EU flags, he added that the events were a “turning point in the history of Europe and our country” that would have “deep and lasting consequences for our lives”.

READ ALSO Solidarity, sanctions or NATO-blaming: What French presidential candidates say about Ukraine

Decisions would be taken at meetings of the G7, EU and NATO in the next hours, he said, adding that the sanctions agreed against Russia would be “up to” the scale of the aggression Moscow had launched.

“In the military, economic and energy domains we will be without weakness,” he said.

Macron had repeatedly spoken to President Vladimir Putin seeking a diplomatic solution to the standoff but to no avail. After frenetic telephone talks at the weekend, he has not spoken to the Russian leader since Putin on Monday recognised two Ukrainian breakaway regions as independent.

Macron said that the “massive” Russian attack on Ukraine was “contrary to all the commitments made by the Russian authorities”.

“By going back on his word and refusing the diplomatic path and choosing war, President Putin not only decided to attack Ukraine, he decided to tarnish the whole sovereignty of Ukraine,” said Macron.

“He decided to inflict the most significant damage on peace and stability in Europe for decades,” Macron added.

Member comments

  1. So, what military contribution has France made to Ukraine. Warm words don’t shoot down planes or destroy tanks.

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POLICE

France proposes getting rid of penalties for ‘minor’ speeding offences

The French government is considering changing speeding laws so that drivers will not lose points on their licence if they are caught going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

France proposes getting rid of penalties for 'minor' speeding offences

France’s Interior Ministry is considering changing its current rules for minor speeding violations – proposing getting rid of the penalty for drivers who only violate the rule by going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

The Ministry has not laid out a timeline for when this could come into effect, but they said they are currently in the preliminary stages of studying how the change could be carried out.

“The fine of course remains,” said the Interior Ministry to French daily Le Parisien.

That is to say you can still be fined for going five kilometres over the speed limit, but there might not be any more lost points for driving a couple kilometres over the posted limit. 

READ ALSO These are the offences that can cost you points on your driving licence

Of the 13 million speeding tickets issued each year in France, 58 percent are for speeding violations of less than 5 km per hour over the limit, with many coming from automated radar machines.

How does the current rule work?

The rule itself is already a bit flexible, depending on where the speeding violation occurs.

If the violation happens in an urban area or low-speed zone (under 50 km per hour limit), then it is considered a 4th class offence, which involves a fixed fine of €135. Drivers can also lose a point on their licences as a penalty for this offence. 

Whereas, on highways and high-speed roads, the consequences of speeding by 5 km per hour are less severe. The offence is only considered 3rd class, which means the fixed fine is €68. There is still the possibility of losing a point on your licence, however. 

How do people feel about this?

Pierre Chasseray, a representative from the organisation “40 Millions d’Automobilistes,” thinks the government should do away with all penalties for minor speeding offences, including fines. He told French daily Le Parisien that this is only a “first step.”

Meanwhile, others are concerned that the move to get rid of points-deductions could end up encouraging people to speed, as they’ll think there is no longer any consequence.

To avoid being accused of carelessness, France’s Interior Ministry is also promising to become “firmer” with regards to people who use other people’s licences in order to get out of losing points – say by sending their spouse’s or grandmother’s instead of their own after being caught speeding. The Interior Ministry plans to digitalise license and registration in an effort to combat this. 

Ultimately, if you are worried about running out of points on your licence, there are still ways to recover them.

You can recover your points after six months of driving without committing any other offences, and there are also awareness training courses that allow you to gain your points back. It should be noted, however, that these trainings typically cost between €150 and €250, and they do not allow you to regain more than four points.

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