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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

The new French laws coming into force in 2023

From rules about driving in the snow to renting apartments and parking your bike, there are several new laws that will come into force starting on January 1st 2023 in France.

The new French laws coming into force in 2023
Plastic cups in western France. New anti-waste regulations will come into effect on January 1st in France. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

Winter tyres – France introduced a law, the Loi Montage II (mountain law II), in 2020 making winter tyres, chains or socks compulsory in certain areas, which will finally come into effect in 2023.

The law makes either snow tyres, all-weather tyres or chains compulsory in 48 of France’s 96 mainland départements – generally those areas which are mountainous, with local authorities in those départements responsible for deciding where such rules will be applied.

READ ALSO Winter tyres and snow chains: What are the rules in France?

Renting energy inefficient flats – From January 1st, 2023, part of the law regarding the rental of properties considered to be ‘energy inefficient’ will come into effect. Properties advertised for rent in France must have an energy rating of G or above on the Diagnostic de performance énergétique. This means that landlords will no longer be able to open new rental contracts for housing whose annual consumption is greater than 450 kWh per m2. Any owner who wants to put such a property on the rental market will be required to go through a renovation process.

READ MORE: How rules for owning and renting property will change in France in 2023

New rules about telemarketing – Starting on January 1st, cold callers will have to use a phone number with a 09 prefix. This means that automated systems will no longer be able to use mobile numbers beginning with 06 or 07 for telemarketing. 

Following this change, on March 1st, another part of the 2020 law regarding fraudulent phone calls will also come into effect. Telemarketers will no longer be able to call people on the weekends or on public holidays. Additionally, automated systems and marketing calls will not be allowed to take place before 10am or after 8pm. 

Low-emission zones extended – As France combats air pollution, legislation regarding low-emission zones will extend regulations in several parts of France in 2023. Starting on January 1st, cars circulating on roads in Montpellier with the Crit’Air 5 stickers will be banned; in Toulouse, cars with Crit’Air 4 and 5 stickers will no longer be allowed on the roads; in Reims vehicles with the Crit’Air 4 sticker will be banned, and Strasbourg the “educational phase” will end on January 1st and cars with Crit’Air 5 stickers risk fines. Rouen will also end its educational phase on January 1st, meaning cars with Crit’Air 4 and 5 stickers will begin risking fines too.

From July 1st, cars in the Greater Paris area with the Crit’Air 3 sticker will be banned in the A86 perimetre and the same will go for cars circulating in Grenoble with Crit’Air 5 stickers. 

READ MORE: Driving in France: How the Crit’Air vehicle sticker system works

Anti-waste law comes into effect – Several parts of France’s 2020 anti-waste law will come into effect in 2023. First, disposable tableware will be banned for all table service in fast food restaurants and will be required to be replaced by reusable tableware. in April, paper receipts will begin to be phased out as the French government seeks to fight “against the dangerous substances present in cash register tickets” and “to remedy the significant waste that these tickets represent,” according to the French government website Service-Public.

READ MORE: How France’s new anti-waste laws will affect you

Bicycle parking in shared apartment complexes – As part of France’s 2019 “Mobility Orientation Law,” regulations surrounding secure bicycle parking in shared apartment buildings will come into effect on January 1st. The law will require home-owners associations (syndics) in buildings that already offer access to parking for vehicles to meet and discuss how they will offer secure parking for bicycles (if they do not already do so). During the meeting, the syndic will also need to compile estimations for how much these adjustments would cost, and then begin work to provide the space, unless they meet one of the exemption criteria.

You can learn more here.

French government budget – France’s new budget for 2023, which was debated and voted on in 2022, consists of measures to protect against inflation, plans to index the income tax scale to inflation, pay rises for minimum wage workers, and the renewal of the MaPrimRenov scheme. There are several other tenants to this legislation that will come into force in 2023, which you can read about here.

Roadworthiness test for motorcycles – After some back and forth, the French council of the state decided in October that motorcycles (two-wheeled vehicles) would also need to comply with “roadworthiness” testing starting January 1st, 2023. This is part of a decree passed by the French government in August 2021, and it specifically concerns two-wheeled vehicles registered to dates prior to 2016. The council of the state specified that the vehicles concerned are “motor vehicles with two, three or four wheels with a cylinder capacity of more than 125 cm3.” As of December 2022, the details regarding how this plan will be implemented were not yet available, so it is possible enforcement measures will be staggered.

Changes to alimony (child support) – In March, the French government changed the procedure for child support payments, making it so that alimony would be directly paid out through CAF. The reform was intended to prevent unpaid child support. Starting on January 1st, the decree will apply to all separations involving minor children, including unmarried couples. Previously, it only applied to divorced couples. 

Change to criminal trials – For trials for the crime of rape, there will no longer be trial with a jury. Instead rape trials, and those for crimes punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment, will be tried in “first instance by criminal courts.”

Sentencing for prisoners – Previously, French law allowed for prisoners to have automatic reductions in their sentences over time, except for in cases of bad behavior. However, starting in 2023, it will be up to a “sentence enforcement judge” to determine whether reductions in sentence time should be offered based on “sufficient evidence of good conduct” or “serious efforts to reintegrate.”

Other laws that may come into effect in 2023

The law on immigration – While this law has not yet been voted on, it will be debated by France’s parliament in 2023. As of December 2022, the possible contents of the law included possible language tests for foreigners seeking to obtain a carte de séjour as well as easier procedures for deporting those who have overstayed their residency permits. 

READ MORE: Language tests and easier expulsion: What’s in France’s new immigration law

Changes to retirement – French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will on January 10th unveil details of the planned pension reform – originally planned on December 15th. The plans are highly controversial and unions have already called for ‘mobilisation’ (ie strikes and demos) against the plans. Nevertheless, President Emmanuel Macron seeks to pass pension reform in the near future, so a possible new law may be on the books for 2023.

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WHAT CHANGES IN FRANCE

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

From the French pancake festival to school holidays and another mass strike, here's what is happening in France this week.

On the Agenda: What's happening in France this week

Monday 

Anti-discrimination plan – Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government plan to combat racism, anti-semitism and discrimination based on origins.

Tuesday

Strikes and demos – January 31st is the second ‘mass strike’ day in the ongoing battle between unions and the government over pension reform. Expect severe disruption on public transport, school closures and possible power cuts. The day will also be marked by demos in towns and cities across France – the last one saw 1 million people take to the streets, and unions are hoping for a similar turnout.

Pension strikes: What to expect on January 31st

Some unions have announced their intention to continue with industrial action into February, so keep an eye on the latest updates HERE

Wednesday

Immigration bill – the immigration bill – which includes, among other things a requirement for foreigners to take a language test in order to obtain certain types of carte de séjour – is presented to the Council of Minister, before it comes before parliament.

Language tests and easier expulsion – what’s in France’s new immigration bill?

Electricity bills rise – from Wednesday, domestic electricity bills can rise by a maximum of 15 percent after the 2022 price shield expires.

READ ALSO What changes in France in February

Thursday 

Pancake day – the French festival of La Chandeleur is a celebration of the crêpe. It’s not a public holiday, just a chance to eat lots of yummy pancakes and indulge in some of the stranger pancake-based rituals (crêpe on the wardrobe, anyone?) which are said to bring good luck for the year ahead.

La chandeleur: The day France goes crazy for crêpes

Saturday

School holidays – schools in zone A begin the two-week February holiday on Saturday. The February holidays have different dates in different zones, with one B beginning holidays on February 11th and zone C on February 18th.

Reader question: Is there any logic to France’s school holiday zones?

Sunday

Rugby – France take on Italy in Rome in the opening weekend of the 6 Nations rugby tournament, with the French team hoping to repeat last year’s result, which saw them win the tournament.

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