French truckers call for demos over ‘insufficient’ financial aid plan

A truckers' organisation in France have called for demonstrations, judging that the PM's plan to deal with soaring fuel prices does not go far enough.

French truckers call for demos over 'insufficient' financial aid plan

The European Road Transport Organisation (OTRE) released a statement calling on member companies to mobilise on Monday, March 21st after an “insufficient” Resilience Plan was outlined by Prime Minister Jean Castex

According to France Info, the steps Castex outlined did not satisfy the OTRE, who are particularly concerned with the rise in fuel prices.

Only “a direct and complementary financial aid per vehicle (trucks, buses, light commercial vehicles) within “very short period of time” would suffice in meeting “the expectations of its member companies,” explained the OTRE in a Press Release.

They added that the Prime Minister’s plan offered “advances,” but they are “not enough.” 

It has so far not released details of what form the demonstrations will take.

The plan unveiled by Castex targets financial help at sectors particularly affected by rising fuel prices; fishing, agriculture and haulage. 

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Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France’s disabilities minister

France's disabilities minister will not face a new inquiry "as things stand" over a rape allegation that surfaced just after his nomination by President Emmanuel Macron last week, prosecutors have said, citing the anonymity of the alleged victim.

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France's disabilities minister

Damien Abad has faced growing pressure to resign after the news website Mediapart reported the assault claims by two women dating from over a decade ago, which he has denied.

One of the women, identified only by her first name, Margaux, filed a rape complaint in 2017 that was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The other woman, known only as Chloe, told Mediapart that in 2010 she had blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne from Abad at a bar in Paris, and woke up in her underwear in pain with him in a hotel room. She believes she may have been drugged.

She did not file an official complaint, but the Paris prosecutors’ office said it was looking into the case after being informed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics, a group formed by members of France’s MeToo movement.

“As things stand, the Paris prosecutors’ office is not following up on the letter” from the observatory, it said, citing “the inability to identify the victim of the alleged acts and therefore the impossibility of proceeding to a hearing.”

In cases of sexual assault against adults, Paris prosecutors can open an inquiry only if an official complaint is made, meaning the victim must give their identity.

Abad has rejected the calls to resign in order to ensure the new government’s “exemplarity,” saying that he is innocent and that his own condition of arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his joints, means sexual relations can occur only with the help of a partner.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle last Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right-wing opposition.

The new prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said she was unaware of the allegations before Abad’s nomination, but insisted that “If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences.”

The claims could loom large over parliamentary elections next month, when Macron is hoping to secure a solid majority for his reformist agenda. Abad will be standing for re-election in the Ain department north of Lyon.