Today in France: The latest news from the 2022 French presidential election

Each weekday, our early morning roundup 'Today in France' takes a look at the latest news, events and gossip from the campaign trail - here's what is happening on Tuesday.

Today in France: The latest news from the 2022 French presidential election
French far-right Reconquete! party President and presidential candidate Eric Zemmour. Photo by Jean-Christophe VERHAEGEN / AFP

Right stuff

The right wing weekly publication Valeurs actuelle is organising tonight an event in Paris intended to debate the talking points of the right and far right. Candidates Valérie Pécresse and Eric Zemmour will be joined by Marion Maréchal – Marine Le Pen’s niece who has recently announced her support for Zemmour – the defeated Les Républicains candidate Eric Ciotti and Jordan Bardella, the interim party-leader of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National.

The weekly had invited along several figures from the left and centre, but there was apparently little appetite to be “used as a pinata” in front of a strongly right-wing audience. Macron’s citizenship minister Marlèna Schiappa will be there, though.

Zelensky address

After previously stating that she had “no particular admiration” for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and wouldn’t bother to attend his videolink speech to the French parliament on Wednesday, Marine Le Pen has now backtracked and said she will be there to hear him.

Earlier in the campaign, Le Pen had to withdraw 1.2 million campaign leaflets that showed her shaking hands with Vladimir Putin.

Repatriation ministry

The extreme right candidate Eric Zemmour says that it elected be would create a Ministère de la remigration (repatriation ministry) to expel “unwanted foreigners” from France.

The candidate said that he would have “collective flights” to send back non-French citizens, picking out governments in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia to come to agreements with.

Zemmour has in recent days fallen below 10 percent in polling for the first time since he declared his candidacy.

Candidates’ trips

Emmanuel Macron is on radio station France Bleu at 1pm outlining his ‘citizen agenda’. Anne Hidalgo is with ex president François Hollande for a rally in Limoges while Philippe Poutou is holding a meeting in Alençon.

Meanwhile Valérie PécresseFabien RousselEric Zemmour and Jean Lassalle are taking part in a meeting organised by the hunting lobby.

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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.