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Sarkozy receives a second conviction




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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured) has been sentenced to one year in prison with two further years suspended custodial sentence. He will be appealing the decision.

The ‘Bygmalion Affaire’ is linked to illegal financing of his presidential campaign in 2012.

The sentence is higher than the one proposed by the prosecution which had proposed a year, including six months suspended.

Today’s (30 September) sentence is the second conviction Sarkozy has received. In March, he was sentenced for corruption and influence peddling, in the so-called "wiretapping" case. He has also appealed this decision.


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European Agenda on Migration

France's Macron tells UK to 'get serious' on Channel migrant crisis




French President Emmanuel Macron told Britain on Friday (26 November) it needed to "get serious" or remain locked out of discussions over how to curb the flow of migrants escaping war and poverty across the Channel, write Benoit Van Overstraeten, Richard Lough, Ingrid Melander in Paris, Ardee Napolitano in Calais, Stephanie Nebehhay in Geneva, Ingrid Melander, Sudip Kar-gupta and Kylie Maclellan.

France cancelled an invitation to British Home Secretary Priti Patel to attend a meeting on the issue in Calais, underlining how fraught its ties with Britain have become, with post-Brexit trading rules and fishing rights also at stake.

Boris Johnson's spokesman said the British prime minister was taking the issue "extremely seriously" and said he hoped France would reconsider its decision to cancel Patel's invite.

The row erupted after the death of 27 migrants trying to cross the narrow seaway between the two countries, the worst tragedy on record in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Read more.


"I'm surprised when things are not done seriously. We don't communicate between leaders via tweets or published letters, we are not whistle-blowers. Come on. Come on," Macron told a news conference in Rome.

Macron was responding to a letter from Johnson in which the British leader told "Dear Emmanuel" what he reckoned should be done to stop migrants from making the perilous journey.

Johnson urged France in his letter to agree on joint patrols on its shores and consent to taking back the migrants who make it to Britain. Read more.


Infuriated by the letter, and not least by the fact that Johnson published it on Twitter, the French government cancelled an invitation to Patel to attend a meeting on Sunday to discuss with EU ministers how to tackle immigration.

Johnson does not regret his letter to Macron or publishing it on Twitter, his spokesman said, adding that he wrote it "in the spirit of partnership and co-operation" and posted it online to inform the public of what the government was doing.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a news conference after signing an accord with Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi to try to tilt the balance of power in Europe, at Villa Madama in Rome, Italy, November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Relations between the traditional allies are already strained, including by a recent submarines deal with Australia which replaced one it had with France, and they were already accusing each other of not properly managing immigration.

"We're fed up with (London's) double-talk," French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, adding that Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin "told his counterpart she was not longer welcome."

Sunday's migration meeting will go ahead, without Patel but with ministers from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and European Commission officials.

"The (EU) ministers will work seriously to settle serious issues with serious people," Macron said. "We will then see how to move forward efficiently with the British, if they decide to get serious."

When Britain left the EU, it was no longer able to use the bloc's system for returning migrants to the first member state they entered.

UNHCR spokesman William Saltmarsh urged France and Britain to work together.

"Cooperation between the two countries, but also between the UK and Europe is extremely important," he said. "It is important that there is a concerted efforts to try to crush the smugglers' rings, the smugglers have been very adaptive in recent months."

The number of migrants crossing the Channel has surged to 25,776 so far in 2021, up from 8,461 in 2020 and 1,835 in 2019, according to the BBC, citing government data.

Rights groups say that while fighting people-smugglers is vital, France and Britain's migration policies are also to blame for the deaths, pointing to a lack of legal migration routes.

"The result of what happened yesterday, we can say it was because of smugglers, but it's the responsibility of these deadly migration policies above all, we see this every day," Marwa Mezdour, who coordinates a migrant association in Calais, said at a vigil in tribute to those who drowned.

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European Globalization Adjustment Fund: €3.7 million to support almost 300 dismissed Airbus workers in France



The European Commission has proposed that 297 dismissed Airbus workers in France, who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, will be supported with €3.7 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Displaced Workers (EGF). The funding will help them find new jobs through advice on how to start their own business and start-up grants.

Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said: “Especially in times of crisis, EU solidarity is crucial. Through the European Globalization Adjustment Fund, we will empower 297 people in the aeronautic sector in France who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic to relaunch their careers with targeted advice on business creation and grants to help them set-up their own company.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions hit the aeronautic sector hard and the related economic crisis reduced the purchasing power of many air transport customers. Plans to buy new aircraft were put on hold or cancelled, and many aircraft were retired prematurely as part of airlines' restructuring plans.

In France, despite the wide use of short-time work schemes, Airbus had to implement a restructuring plan and many workers lost their jobs. Thanks to the EGF, 297 former Airbus workers will receive targeted active labour market support to help them start their own business and return to work.


The €3.7m from the EGF will help finance training for business creation and start-up grants of up to €15,000 per participant. Participants will also receive a contribution towards their accommodation, food and transportation costs related to participating in the training. In addition, former workers taking up a new job may be eligible for a top-up of their salaries, if they are lower than in their previous job. 

The total estimated cost of the support measures is €4.4m, of which the EGF will cover 85% (€3.7m). Airbus will provide the remaining amount (€0.7m). The EGF support is part of the overall support package offered by Airbus to the dismissed employees. However, the EGF support goes beyond what Airbus as the dismissing company is legally obliged to provide.

The Commission's proposal requires approval by the European Parliament and the Council.



Airbus' commercial aircraft production generated 67% of the overall turnover of Airbus. As of April 2020, production levels were down by one third and the Airbus workforce was reduced accordingly.

The initial restructuring plan foresaw a cut of 4,248 jobs in France. Thanks to measures introduced by the French government to remedy the economic consequences of the pandemic (such as legislation allowing enterprises to temporarily hire out staff to other enterprises and short-term work schemes), the number of dismissals was significantly reduced to 2,246 jobs.

Nonetheless, the dismissals are expected to have a significant impact, particularly on the Occitan regional labour market and economy. The city of Toulouse and its surrounding region are a major aeronautical cluster in Europe with 110,000 people employed in the sector. The region is heavily dependent on aeronautics and Airbus is the largest private employer in the region. The 35% reduction of production plans at Airbus will likely have severe consequences on employment in the whole sector, also affecting the large number of suppliers. The dismissals are also likely to have an impact on the Pays de la Loire region, even if this regional economy is more diversified.

Under the new EGF regulation 2021-2027, the Fund continues to support displaced workers and the self-employed whose activity has been lost. With the new rules, EGF support becomes more easily available for people affected by restructuring events: all types of unexpected major restructuring events can be eligible for support, including the economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as larger economic trends like decarbonization and automation. Member States can apply for EU funding when at least 200 workers lose their jobs within a specific reference period.

Since 2007, the EGF has made available some €652m in 166 cases, offering help to nearly 164,000 people in 20 member states. EGF supported measures add to national active labour market measures.

More information

Commission proposal for EGF support to dismissed Airbus workers
Factsheet on the EGF
Press release: Commission welcomes political agreement on European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for displaced workers
Website of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund
EGF regulation 2021-2027
Follow Nicolas Schmit on Facebook and Twitter
Subscribe to the European Commission's free e-mail newsletter on employment, social affairs and inclusion

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France hits one-month high for patients hospitalized for COVID-19




A COVID-19 patient connected to a ventilator tube in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Centre Cardiologique du Nord private hospital in Saint-Denis, near Paris, amid the coronavirus disease pandemic in France. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

French health authorities said on Monday (8 November) the number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 went up by 156 over the past 24 hours, the highest daily rise since 23 August, to reach a one-month peak of 6,865, writes Benoit Van Overstraeten.

The number of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) for the disease increased by 40 to 1,141, a ninth rise in 10 days.

President Emmanuel Macron will speak to the nation on Tuesday about the resurgence of COVID-19 infections as well as his economic reform programme. Read more.


An additional 2,197 new infections were reported over 24 hours, bringing the total to 7.22 million since the start of the outbreak.

That brings the seven day moving average of new cases - which smoothes out daily reporting irregularities - rose to 7,277, a level unseen since 18 September, from a three-month low of 4,172 on 10 October.

It had set a 2021 record of 42,225 in mid-April before falling to a 2021 low of 1,816 at the end of June.


France also registered 57 new deaths from the epidemic, taking the COVID death toll to close to 117,950. The seven-day moving average of new fatalities is at 41, a high since Oct 6 versus 25 at the start of the month.

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