Tag Archives: France

EU-UK Channel Tunnel railroad future

The EU is working on legislation to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the Channel Tunnel railway connection between continental Europe and the United Kingdom (Channel Fixed Link) after the end of the Brexit transition period. Today, the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee agreed on a negotiation mandate on two proposals aimed at maintaining a single safety authority, which would continue to apply the same set of rules over the whole infrastructure, including in its section under UK jurisdiction.

Currently, all matters concerning the operation of the Channel Fixed Link are supervised by an Intergovernmental Commission set up by the Treaty of Canterbury, signed between France and the UK in 1986.

Under the Council mandate, France will be empowered to negotiate an amendment to the Canterbury Treaty and the EU railway safety and interoperability rules will be amended so that the Intergovernmental Commission can be maintained as the safety authority competent for the application of EU law within the Channel Fixed Link.

The draft regulation amending the safety and interoperability provisions will be split into two draft regulations, in order to amend the Statute of the European Court of Justice in a manner that respects the Court’s prerogatives while avoiding a delay in the start of the negotiations.

A swift adoption of the draft decision and draft regulation will allow the prompt start of the talks between France and the UK. The adoption of the amendments to the Statute of the ECJ will be essential at the end of these negotiations, before France is authorised to sign and conclude the actual agreement.Th

The negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament on the two proposals are taking place as a matter of urgency.

France bans bird trap four decades after EU

France prohibits an archaic bird hunting technique four decades after the European Union ban. The country has suspended the use of glue traps, which conservationists say are especially cruel to animals and harmful the environment. The hunting technique involves coating branches with glue to trap songbirds, which are caged to attract prey birds that can then be killed.

Activists have condemned it as cruel to the animals and harmful to the environment, and such practices have been banned in all European Union countries except France, which created a workaround to allow hunters to continue to apply it bypassing the European ban.

This week, France said that it, too, was temporarily banning the practice — a move that follows mounting pressure from conservationists, a complaint to the European Court of Justice, and a threat from the European Union’s executive body in July that the country faced legal action if the glue traps were not banned within three months.

French environment minister, Barbara Pompili, described it “good news for the law and for biodiversity.” And Christophe Baticle, an anthropologist at the University of Picardy Jules Verne in northern France, named the move “symbolic.”

The suspension, issued by President Emmanuel Macron affects a minority of French hunters and applies only to the coming hunting season, pending a final decision from the European Court of Justice. And most people in the country disapprove of hunting, considering it cruel and outdated.

However the hunting lobby is a powerful political force in France. There are about 1.5 million registered hunters in the country, and they can form an influential voting bloc in rural areas. Mr. Macron has made efforts to attract their support since his election in 2017, including cutting the price of national hunting licenses in half, to 200 euros (about $240). About 5,000 hunters use glue traps to hunt birds, according to the French National Hunters’ Federation.

Willy Schraen, the head of the hunters’ federation, called the suspension “unacceptable.” “Let’s leave people alone,” he suggested in a television interview. “Why is this an issue to occupy Europe and our minister?” he questioned, referring to Ms. Pompili.

The hunting technique, known as glue-covered bird traps, is used to catch songbirds like thrushes and blackbirds. Conservationists explain that it not only is cruel to the trapped songbirds, but also threatens endangered species because the traps ensnare many kinds of birds.

The European Union moved to outlaw glue traps in a 1979 measure that prohibited “nonselective” hunting, but France influenced by hunting lobby then created a workaround by regulating how birds captured by mistake could be released.

Borrell invites Ankara for broad dialogue

“Today’s announcement by Turkey of renewed drilling activities by the Yavuz vessel in a maritime zone which has been delineated by Cyprus and Egypt regrettably fuels further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean” reads the statement issued on Sunday August 16 by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on renewed drilling activities by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“This action runs counter and undermines efforts to resume dialogue and negotiations, and to pursue immediate de-escalation, which is the only path towards stability and lasting solutions, as reiterated by EU Foreign Ministers last Friday”.

“I call on the Turkish authorities to end these activities immediately and to engage fully and in good faith in a broad dialogue with the European Union”.

Turkey’s vice president Fuat Oktay criticised the recently announced defense cooperation between France and the “Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus”, the text appeared on his official Twitter micro blog on Sunday, August 16.

“It is unacceptable under any circumstances that France organizes joint exercises with the Greek Cypriot administration and deploys its military aircraft to the island contrary to the 1959-60 agreements,” Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.

“It is essential for France not to seek adventure in Cyprus-related matters, and act much more responsible” he warned.

On Saturday, August 15, it was announced that a 2017 defense cooperation agreement between Cyprus and France had entered into force this August 1.

Oktay has underlined that it is essential that international circles, especially the EU, take a stand against the “spoiled, aggressive and unlawful attitudes” of France in the region.

No attempt contrary of Turkey and the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] has a chance of succeeding in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

Turkey will continue standing with the Turkish Cypriots to provide unconditional support to their just and legitimate struggle as well as “resolutely” continue the exploration within its jurisdiction area with the drill ship Yavuz, the vice president ensured.

EU for dialogue in East Mediterranean

On August 14 via a teleconference the EU Ministers of Foreign affaris discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, following a grave deterioration of the security situation in recent days.

Three words reflect the outcome of the discussion: solidarity, de-escalation, and dialogue.

Solidarity:

Ministers reaffirmed the EU’s full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus. They reiterated that sovereign rights of EU Member States must be respected. They recalled EU common positions and the previous Council Conclusions of 22 March 2018 and June, July, October, December 2019, in addition to the Statement on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean of 15 May 2020.

At the same time, Ministers stressed that the serious deterioration in the relationship with Turkey is having far-reaching strategic consequences for the entire EU, well beyond the Eastern Mediterranean.

De-escalation:

Ministers stressed in particular that recent naval mobilisations by Turkey do not contribute to finding any solutions. On the contrary, they will lead to greater antagonism and distrust. They create a heightened risk of dangerous incidents. Immediate de-escalation by Turkey was considered crucial.

Dialogue:

Ministers recalled the importance they attach to relations with Turkey. They underlined that issues related to delimitation of maritime boundaries and exploitation of resources therein can only be addressed through dialogue and negotiation, in good faith, in accordance with international law and in pursuit of the principle of good neighbourly relations, and not through unilateral actions and the mobilisation of naval forces.

Ministers recalled the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council of 13 July. They reiterated strong support for the High Representative’s efforts to re-establish dialogue and facilitate re-engagement with Turkey. At the same time, the High Representative/Vice-President is to prepare options on further appropriate measures in case tensions do not abate.

A broader discussion about relations with Turkey will be held later in August, at the Gymnich.

France has been presented by Clement Beaune, the Secretary of State in charge for the European affairs.

Enjoy summer with Ruinart champagne

Have you ever tasted Ruinart champagnes?
Ruinart Champagne Cellar Master, Frédéric Panaoitis, created for you e-tasting videos.
Discover the perfect combination of freshness and exotic notes, Ruinart Rosé.
Ruinart rosé is the first rosé champagne to make its appearance over 250 years ago, its excellent quality remains the essential feature of the production of this delicate wine to this day.

The House of Ruinart was officially founded in 1729, as it was only on the 25th May 1728 that a royal decree authorized the transport of champagne wine in baskets containing 50 or 100 bottles. Prior to that date wines could only be transported in casks. Therefore the right to transport bottles opened up the market throughout France and even further afield for the wine merchants in Reims.

After a glorious past and a number of vicissitudes, RUINART has joined the LVMH luxury group and has since become one of the most appreciated and respected champagne brands in France.

Ruinart is currently managed by Frédéric Dufour and its Cellar Master is Frédéric Panaïotis. The House sells an estimated 3 million bottles per year.

Ruinart champagnes are characterized by an unusually high percentage of Chardonnay in the blends, resulting in a fine freshness and elegance, with a certain power.

Extraordinary vintage Dom Ruinart 2007

2007 is an extraordinary vintage, and one of the very few in Champagne when the harvest began in August. After a sunny and very warm spring, the months of June, July and August brought rather gloomy weather and heavy rainfall. The blend is 100% Chardonnay exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards.

The blend is 100% Chardonnay exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards: 75% from the Côte des Blancs (Chouilly, Le Mesnil, Oger and Avize) and 25% from the northern slopes of Montagne de Reims (predominantly Sillery and Verzenay).

The attack is a hit of chalk, then flint and oyster shell notes mingle with the smoky aromas of blond tobacco. The nose continues into springtime notes, underscored with light aromas of sap, linden, acacia, extremely fresh yellow and green citrus fruit (lime, yuzu) and green fruit (plum). The subtle notes of fig leaf, liquorice and fine Chinese tea enhance the complexity of its aromatic bouquet.
The palate, which begins smoothly, quickly reveals a thrilling, stony liveliness and a deep intensity structured by notes of green citrus and grapefruit. The sap-infused and chalky finish is framed with an elegant bitter flavour. Dom Ruinart 2007 is a dynamic, sculpted wine that expresses the full purity of fine Chardonnay.

For a starter, Dom Ruinart is a wonderful match for a carpaccio of scallops millefeuille and black radish with a marinade of first press organic olive oil and green citrus fruit. Its elegance and texture partners perfectly with steamed cod in champagne, Zhegiang powder tea and a seawater consommé.
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2007 has to be kept in a cool place, away from any light. Serving this vintage at a temperature between 10 and 12°C in large tasting glasses will accentuate the sublime nature of its aromatic complexity.

Franco-German €500bn recovery plan

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron propose a major financial recovery fund worth €500 billion.

Both leaders have proposed that the EU borrows on the financial markets in order to disperse some €500bn through grants to European economies hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the Franco-German proposal the member states receiving the funds would not need to repay the cash.

Liability for the debt would instead be added to the EU budget, to which member states contributions vary according to the size and prosperity of their economies.

Should the proposal receive the endorsement of the 25 other member states, it would amount to a significant move towards a level of burden-sharing and fiscal transfers firmly opposed during past crises. The European commission would borrow the money under the EU’s name.

It would come on top of the bloc’s next budget — the Multiannual Financial Framework — and the €540 billion of loans already announced by the Eurogroup.

The money raised by the Commission would be used “in a targeted manner” to support sectors and regions particularly impacted by the pandemic.

Speaking during a virtual press conference with France’s president, Merkel said: “We are convinced that it is not only fair but also necessary to now make available the funds … that we will then gradually repay through several future European budgets”.

COVID19: Viticulture counts on EU aid

Sales at British liquor stores leapt a third in March, while those for alcohol at U.S. retailers shot up more than 50% in the week after the country entered a state of national emergency.

But the drinks industry isn’t celebrating.

The surge in demand came as sales through bars, clubs and restaurants fell to zero as they were closed to contain the COVID-19 virus. And even as countries start to ease restrictions, these venues are likely to be re-opened in the very end of lock down.

There are various estimates that in Europe, the closure of this important distribution channel could lead to a 35% reduction in sales volume, which could reach more than 50% loss in sales value”, said Pau Roca, managing director of the International Wine Organization (OIV) during an audio conference.

Pau Roca estimated that the impact of these containment measures would not be the same in all regions and, for example, that the Mediterranean countries would be “probably more affected than the others”. He puts forward two reasons to support this forecast:

First, the highest incidence of bars, restaurants and sidewalk cafes, and second, the radical suppression of the highly developed tourism industry, which will be severely limited, even a once containment has ended ”.

The top three global wine producers in 2019, Italy, France and Spain, alone accounted for 25% of global wine consumption last year, according to data released at the press conference.

If the OIV mentions an increase in sales in grocery stores and supermarkets, “this good news does not compensate for all the losses caused” by the reduction in sales in hotels, cafes and restaurants, underlines Pau Roca. The characteristics of the retail commercial distribution channel “limit purchasing capacity”, he says, referring to an offer more geared “towards low and homogeneous prices”.

Finally, it plans to develop distance selling or electronic commerce offered by various virtual stores. “Via this third distribution channel, orders could not always be guaranteed” due to a saturation of logistics and delivery services, said the OIV manager.

Once this problem is resolved and the sector adapts to this new demand, direct home sales will certainly continue to increase in the future,” he adds. Nevertheless, “even if we are witnessing a spectacular transfer between the distribution channels, the overall balance expected is a reduction in consumption, a reduction in average prices and therefore an overall decrease in the total value of sales of turnover, margins and ultimately the profitability of producers, vineyards and in particular SMEs which are linked to traditional distribution channels and which are located outside supermarket networks, ”says Pau Roca.

After the taxes of Trump, who planted part of the wine companies, today with the closing of restaurants, the closing of lounges, the closing of cellars, the closing of sales on farms, French wine growers are in the process of to be completely suffocated, “said French Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume on LCI TV Channel.

While Europe proposed new measures for other agricultural sectors in crisis, such as milk and meat, Pau Guillaume now hopes for a gesture for viticulture from the European Commission.

French, Italian and Spanish wine cooperatives, which claim a total of half of European production, asked the Commission “to open without delay a European crisis distillation of 10 million hectoliters with a budget exceptional European investment of 350 million euros ”.

A crucial measure to relieve producers, even if last year, world production fell by 12% compared to 2018, a record vintage, to 260 million hectoliters, according to the latest figures from the OIV.

While more than four out of ten bottles usually cross borders, “trade flows are and will continue to be seriously affected,” said Pau Roca. He believes that the two largest markets in the world, Europe and the United States, could reduce their imports, but hopes on the other hand that “other regions less affected by the pandemic or which could recover more quickly, such as the countries Asian ”, will provide“ short-term partial relief”.

COVID19: EU succumbs to China pressure

A report by the European External Action Service (EEAS) looking at the spread of disinformation about the COVID-19 outbreak was, according to unnamed European official, pulled from publication because of concerns about Chinese reaction.

The report, which had already been circulated to member states and leaked to media, was quioted saying that China was undertaking a global campaign to deflect blame for Covid-19 with the aim of improving the country’s international status and said there had been both overt and covert activity.

The EEAS denied a report was due to be published, saying an internal report was leaked.

Analysts underline they have seen a push from Chinese media to emphasise the country’s success and other’s failings in dealing with the virus, along with Russia also adopting the strategy on Western failures and errors.

Beijing’s messaging is believed to reflect fears of the Chinese leaders of a backlash once the crisis is over.

A New York Times report this week also claimed that Chinese “agents” had been pushing misinformation in March about a lockdown in the US.

The initial European Union report, obtained by The New York Times, was not particularly strident: a routine roundup of publicly available information and news reports.

It cited the Chinese leadership efforts to curtail mentions of the virus’s origins in Wuhan, in part by blaming the United States for spreading the disease

It also noted that Beijing had criticized France for its slow response to the pandemic and had pushed false accusations that French politicians used racist slurs against the head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopian microbiologist and internationally recognized researcher).

The report also highlighted Russian efforts to circulate false information and sow distrust in Western institutions.

Western officials say China is keen to play up its success in combating the virus and minimise any fallout from its role as the origin of the COVID-19 and early failures to be open about the outbreak.

Image: Chinese “wet” market, source: social media

Normandy: wolf camera images

А large canine has been captured by an automatic camera in Normandy, northern France. Authorities believe the animal is a European gray wolf. If their hypothesis is correct, it would be the first wolf seen in this region of France for more than a century.

According to a local news report, the image of the lone canine was taken overnight on April 7-8 in Londinières, a village northeast of Normandy—on an infrared camera.

Authorities at the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) say it is likely a gray wolf (Canis lupus lupus), but caution additional information is needed to confirm the sighting.

“Given the quality of the images provided and considering that many breeds of dogs can have a size and coat colors similar to that of a wolf, this expertise should be considered with some reservation,” the OFB, which was sent images of the suspected wolf on April 12, said in a press release.

“The photo was analyzed by several people experienced in the identification of the wolf and who concluded that there was a high probability,” a spokesperson from the OFB told Newsweek. “However, it cannot 100 percent be said it is a wolf… Only DNA analysis on biological material would remove doubts.”

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