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ENERGY

France to boost gas exports to Germany from mid-October

New capacity for gas exports from France to Germany will be available from mid-October, France's gas network operator said Wednesday, as Europe's energy system is rejigged following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

France to boost gas exports to Germany from mid-October
Ingoing and outgoing gaz pipelines at a GRTgaz compressor station, in Morelmaison,eastern France on March 29, 2013 (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP)

“Historic gas flows from the east have been reversed under the effect of the war in Ukraine,” operator GRTgaz said in a statement, adding that the firm “is working on adapting its network to develop new capacity for export from France to Germany, which will be available from mid-October.”

“Historic gas flows from the east have been reversed under the effect of the war in Ukraine,” operator GRTgaz said in a statement.

It added that the firm “is working on adapting its network to develop new capacity for export from France to Germany, which will be available from mid-October.”

GRTgaz said France’s terminals for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) were operating at 90 percent capacity, helping to fill the country’s reserves to 94 percent — around ten points higher than the European average.

In a “normal” winter, there would be “no shortage of gas”, the company said — while warning that “there is little room for manoeuvre, especially on days of especially high consumption”.

And in the case of a “very cold” winter, GRTgaz expects a shortfall in gas supply of around five percent, a level it said “can be absorbed by reaching the energy saving objectives set by the authorities”.

It encouraged households to follow advice to turn down their heating by one degree Celsius.

“As a last resort, load-shedding targeting major consumers could protect residential customers in extreme situations that are very unlikely to occur,” the operator said.

The announcement came alongside Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s conference discussing the government’s plans for helping the country cope with surging energy costs this winter, caused by disruptions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

READ MORE: LATEST: France announces 15 percent gas and electricity price rises for 2023

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POLITICS

‘I’ve lost my eyebrows – but not my political ambition’, says France’s ex PM

France's former prime minister Edouard Philippe, a leading contender to succeed President Emmanuel Macron in 2027 elections, has opened up about a hair loss condition he says will not diminish his political ambition.

'I've lost my eyebrows - but not my political ambition', says France's ex PM

The 52-year-old politician, who spearheaded the government’s fight against the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, was a familiar face on television with his trademark brown beard.

Since leaving the post in the summer of 2020 and working as mayor of the Normandy port of Le Havre, his appearance has drastically changed with his hair and beard thinning and turning white suddenly.

“This is what had happened to me: I lost my eyebrows, and I don’t think they will come back,” he told BFMTV in an interview late Thursday.

“My beard has turned white, it’s falling out a bit and the hair too.

“The moustache is gone, I don’t know if it will come back, but I would be surprised,” he said.

“I have what is called alopecia,” he added, opening up about the auto-immune condition that accelerates hair loss.

He said the condition was “not painful, dangerous, contagious or serious”.

Philippe’s wry and avuncular style proved popular with many French and some speculated that his high approval ratings had caused tensions with Macron, with replaced him as Prime Minister in the summer of 2020.

Philippe now regularly tops polls of France’s most-loved and most-trusted politicians. 

He has now founded a new centrist party called Horizons that is allied with Macron’s ruling faction but also unafraid of showing an independent streak.

Some analysts see Philippe as an obvious potential successor to Macron, who must leave office after serving the maximum two terms in 2027.

And Philippe insisted that his condition would not stand in the way of his political plans.

“That doesn’t stop me from being extremely ambitious for my city,” he said referring to Le Havre.

Tellingly, he added: “It doesn’t stop me from being extremely ambitious for my country.”

With France buffeted by strikes and protests as the government seeks to push through landmark pension reform, Philippe gave his full backing to Macron for the changes.

He said he supported the changes “without ambiguity, without any bad note or any other kind of little complication”.

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