At midnight France is shutting down all restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres and “non-essential” retail shops, as the coronavirus continues to spread, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and similar public services will remain open. The restrictions are entering force from March 15 onwards till further notice.
The transport system will also maintain functioning, however the Prime Minister called citizens to limit their travel to absolutely necessary. He also underlined that French failed to show “discipline” in respecting the previous warnings to restrain from public gatherings, including family celebrations.
President Donald Trump used his Twitter micro blog to comment on events in France, where fuel tax imposition caused public outrage culminating in a wave of urban violence. President Macron had to postpone his plans to implement his measure, conceived in name of climate change agenda:
“I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protestors in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago,” Trump tweeted.
“The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters,” said Trump, referring to a global deal on the environment drafted in Paris in late 2015.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe decided to freeze planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months in response to weeks of sometimes violent protests in big cities all over France, marking the first major U-turn by Macron’s administration in 18 months in office.
France is on its way to tidy up its public finances, the European Commission president said on Monday, signaling confidence in the economic changes pursued by French President Emmanuel Macron before euro zone reform talks.
“France, with no doubts, will manage to bring its deficit level below 3 percent in 2017,” Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters, praising labor market reform proposed by the French government in August.
EU fiscal rules require the 28 member states to keep their public deficits below 3 percent of gross domestic product. Those who are above the ceiling are put under disciplinary procedures that could lead to financial sanctions.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that any talks with Britain over its future relationship with the European Union would come only after “orderly” talks over its exit from the bloc have been conducted.
“Conducting orderly negotiations over the United Kingdom’s exit will be a pre-requisite for the future relationship’s framework,” Philippe told during his addresse to National Assembly.
The EU’s negotiating guidelines prevent its chief negotiator Michel Barnier from opening any talks on the free trade agreement, which British Prime Minister Theresa May wants, until EU leaders decide “significant progress” has been made on a deal to settle key issues in the divorce.