France promises e-car rental for €100 a month

Thousands of French car buyers could soon be able to buy an electric car for a mere €100 per month under a new scheme promised by President Emmanuel Macron.

The advent of electric vehicles as viable alternatives to petrol-run ones has been gaining momentum for years. Not only are they touted as being better for the environment, they also are a great foil to high petrol prices at the pump in a time when skyrocketing costs for even basics are escalating out of control.

In France, President Macron, as part of his re-election bid, declared his hopes to reduce CO2 emissions whilst starting to phase out petrol and diesel engine models. Several automakers, including Renault, MG and Hyundai, have recently launched long-term rental offers, which could go hand in hand with the government’s plan.

“We are going to deploy an offer of affordable electric vehicles, setting up leasing mechanisms to help low-income households,” proclaimed the President.

Though details on when the programme would take effect are still unknown, it is thought that at least 100,000 vehicles would be available to lease each year.

According Gabriel Attal, Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts, the intricacies will be presented before the end of 2022 and incorporated into the 2023 Finance Law for implementation next year. He did not reveal details, such as the number of people concerned, the income conditions to benefit from it, or the duration of the rentals, but he said clearly that this promise will be kept, mainly because it goes toward the CO2 reduction goals. On the other hand, he is aware there will be certain difficulties in implementation.

One big problem is supply. A shortage of parts has hampered production, but the minister announced that two “gigafactories” will be built in France to help alleviate those problems.

Cost is also a factor. Reaching a possible total of approximately €11,000 before taking into account any regional subsidies available, this funding currently only covers a fraction of the cost of these vehicles. Add in the gigantic rise in electricity prices forecast for this year and beyond, and e-vehicles suddenly lose a bit of value-added lustre, despite the benefits for the environment.

The rental programme was originally targeted at healthcare professionals and young people, although further details on how it will work have yet to be stated. This type of state aid, first proposed by Socialist Party candidate Anne Hidalgo, would add to a package of existing funding sources aimed at helping people buy an electric car.




Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash





EU greenlights first round of sustainable farming plan

France is among seven countries to receive its share of a €270 billion EU package designed to boost and protect the agricultural sector in Europe, with a large emphasis on sustainable farming.

The summer of 2022 has been difficult for farmers. Droughts with water rationing, heat waves, floods and other natural disasters have marked the growing season, spurring calls for more resistant, less water-guzzling crops to be nurtured.

The European Union has quickly stepped up to create a way forward through the approval of the first Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plans for seven countries: Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, which will start to be implemented in 2023.

This reformed policy will see funding more fairly distributed to small and medium sized family farms and to young farmers. These recipients will be encouraged and supported to use modern farming methods such as precision farming, growing drought-resistant crops and taking up agro-ecological production techniques.

Through CAP, the EU is hoping to increase food security as well as inspire farmers to use efficient and effective ways of working while contributing to the EU’s climate and environmental goals, including on animal welfare.

The plan will combine funding for income support, rural development and market measures.

“We are now one step closer to implementing a new CAP for the next five years,” said Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski. “This step comes at a crucial moment, when the importance of providing robust support for our farming sector has become abundantly clear. Farmers are facing a challenging environment, marked by the sharp increase in production costs due to the Russian aggression in Ukraine, as well as the recent summer drought.

“Farming is a long-term business and European farmers need to have a clear legal and financial framework for the future. The new CAP will help us to support stable farming livelihoods and long-term food security by fostering a smart, competitive, resilient and diversified agricultural sector. The Commission will continue to provide guidance to make the best use of what the CAP has to offer for our farmers, rural communities, and our citizens as a whole.”

More support for sustainable farming

Funding is set at €270 billion for the 2023 to 2027 period, with €120 billion allocated to the seven states whose plans have just been approved and include more than €34 billion dedicated wholly to environmental and climate objectives as well as eco-schemes. Such projects that fall into this category are the promotion of beneficial practices for soil or to improve water management and grassland quality, for example. CAP can also promote afforestation, fire prevention, restoration and adaptation of forests.

Farmers participating in eco-schemes may be rewarded for, amongst other things, banning or limiting the use of pesticides, and limiting soil erosion. Between 86% and 97% of the national utilised agricultural area will be farmed under good agricultural and environmental conditions. Substantial funding will also support the development of organic production, with most countries aiming to double or even triple their farming area. Areas under natural constraints, such as in mountains or on the coast, will continue to benefit from specific funding to maintain an agricultural activity.

The plan also encourages reducing dependence on chemical-based fertilisers and scaling up renewable energy production without reducing food output.

Additionally, it targets the young in an effort to make farming an attractive career choice.

Now that the first seven plans have been approved, the EC is moving ahead to gain quick approval for the plans for the 21 remaining bloc countries.




Photo by Raphael Rychetsky on Unsplash