France Country Report
An ailing economy, internal disputes, and a spate of recent terrorist attacks were the catalyst for a historic result in the 2017 presidential election. Emmanuel Macron – a centrist without an established party backing – secured the presidency, while both of the traditional main parties' candidates were eliminated in the first round. France's new government is likely to continue pursuing a pro-business agenda, focusing on lowering taxes and increasing the flexibility of the labour market. The rioting risk in poorer urban areas is persistently high, while widespread protests and strikes – orchestrated by trade unions – are extremely likely as a result of the government's liberal economic agenda. The risk of low-capability attacks from self-radicalised individualsand jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria remains extremely high.
Industrial action in France is frequent and well organised and often hampers business operations. The transport sector is frequently affected, with the most significant delays and cancellations in 2018 likely to occur in the rail and aviation industries, as well as potential road blockades by truck drivers and rail workers. In response to controversial government reforms, trade unionists could also attempt to target oil refineries and depots with blockades. Transport infrastructure in the capital will be greatly improved by the "New Greater Paris" project, due to be completed by 2030.
There is a high likelihood of attacks by Islamist militants using blades, firearms, or vehicles, as seen in the July 2016 Nice attack. Co-ordinated, marauding attacks such as those in Paris in November 2015 are less likely and would be rapidly neutralised given the greater preparedness of security forces. As 18,000 individuals are suspected of having been radicalised (4,000 of whom are under close surveillance), security forces are overstretched and unable to comprehensively mitigate the heightened threat despite having been granted greater powers and additional funding in 2015. Attacks against Muslim individuals and assets have been steadily increasing and tend to spike following jihadist attacks.
War risks on French soil are minimal given the country's favourable relations with its neighbours. Despite significant cuts to the defence budget, France is likely to maintain a strong military presence, and capacity to intervene, in its former African colonies. The stated goals of French intervention centre on preventing humanitarian disaster, disrupting terrorist networks, restoring territorial integrity and national sovereignty, and consolidating political processes leading to democratic elections. France will continue to play a prominent role in the fight against global terrorism and is a key player in the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.
Although protests attracting up to hundreds of thousands of participants are common in France, they generally pose no risk to individuals. The most likely trigger for riots is perceived police brutality or discrimination against members of minority ethnic groups. In February 2017, for instance, riots broke out in a number of northern suburbs of Paris after an individual was allegedly sexually assaulted by police. There is a heightened risk of isolated days of nationwide protests in Paris and other major cities in 2018 due to the introduction of further unpopular reforms, involving pensions and unemployment benefits.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
The risk of flooding is relatively high; 5 to 7 percent of France's territory is located in flood zones. In November 1999, flooding in areas of Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales departments left some 30 people dead. Strong winter storms, such as Xynthia in February 2010, also occasionally strike the country. This storm brought violent winds and very high tides, which generated unprecedented flooding, leaving some 40 people dead, principally in the Vendée, Charente-Maritime, and des Côtes d'Armor departments. In October 2015, floods in the southeast of the country killed at least 18 people. More recently, in February 2017, the French Meteorological Institute - Météo France - issued red alerts for several departments, including Charente, Charente-Maritime, and Gironde, due to severe wind.
France has a temperate climate with four main climatic regions.
In the west, the climate is oceanic and humid, with mild winters and relatively cool summers.
The climate in Alsace, Lorraine, along the Rhone corridor, and in mountainous regions (Alps, Pyrenees, Central Massif) is semi-continental with harsh winters and hot summers.
In the north (Paris and Central Region), winters are cold and summers hot.
The south of France enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers.
Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz