New laws and regulations

Various new regulations come in force this month in France.  Keeping you abreast of the latest news

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The start of February in France heralds several changes that could hit you in the pocket - or perhaps even leave you slightly better off.
 

First the good news

From February 1st gas prices are going down once again. The provider Engie (formerly GDF-Suez), which has 6.4 million consumers in France, will drop its prices by an average of 1.86 percent.
 
That reflects the fifth consecutive month in which prices have fallen. Since January 2015, gas prices have dropped by an average of 12.6 percent.  Many villages and towns have mains gas these days and some have to rely on bottled gas. Do note however that it may well be possible to connect mains gas to your property. It’s always worth asking at your mairie.
 

Now for the bad news

For anyone who drives around France a lot, you will have to shell out just a little bit more from now on to pay for the motorway tolls. From February 1st the toll prices (or peages as they are called in French), will rise by an average of 1.12 percent; the steepest of these hikes will be seen on motorways in the south west of the country.
 
"Since January 2015, gas prices have dropped by an average of 12.6 percent"
 
We can’t say this hike hasn’t been coming. The prices of tolls were frozen throughout 2015, partly due to pressure from motorist groups, but 2016 will see the tariffs once again on the rise – mainly due to the fact that the French state has raised the “rent” for the seven private companies who run the motorways. Motorist groups have blasted the companies for passing on that rise to drivers.  
 
Having said all that, motorway driving in France remains pretty stress free: there are less cars on the road than in the UK of course and the roads are very well maintained.  You rarely see these contraflow set ups that seem to be everywhere in the UK.
 
"Driving on the motorway in France is stress free compared to what you may be used to in the UK."
 
And now for the other changes
 

1. Jobseekers

From now on, most new jobseekers in several regions of France will have to sign on with the “Pôle Emploi” over the internet rather than in an actual office. This affects jobseekers in Normandy and the south west regions of Poitou Charentes and Languedoc-Roussillon Midi-Pyrénées, before being gradually rolled out across all of France’s regions.
 
While it sounds like a helpful move, the only problem is you’ll need to scan all of your relevant documents to be able to sign up.  No doubt this is a sign of the times and will eventually be a more efficient way of seeking work in France.
 

2. Bank charges comparison site launched

Monday will see a new website created by France’s Ministry of Finance go live. The site allows members of the public to compare the tariffs charged by all the banks, before choosing who to open an account with. The tariffs listed will include the cost of having a bank card, and making transactions etc. Customers will be able to compare around 100 different banks. This is good news for expats as charges do vary and it is worth comparing.
 
"The site, by France’s Ministry of Finance, allows members of the public to compare the tariffs charged by all the banks, before choosing who to open an account with."
 

3. Scooter drivers given more freedom

Ever noticed how motorbike and scooter riders weave in and out of traffic, often with one foot splayed out to announce they are passing? Well this was actually illegal although the infraction was rarely enforced. The government have now made this practice legal, presumably because they knew it was happening anyway. One to watch out for, particularly if you find yourself in heavy traffic in places such as the peripherique in Paris!

Further reading for Living In France

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Finding work in France

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in France.
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Education in France

Are you emigrating to France with school-age children?

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Social life in France

The best way to get settled in France is to find out as much as you can about your new community.
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Healthcare

The French healthcare system is one of the best in the world...

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