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POLITICS

Macron calls to add abortion and climate protection to EU Charter

French President Emmanuel Macron told the EU Parliament that he would seek to enshrine the right to abortion and environmental protection into the EU charter.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the EU parliament.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he would push for the right to have an abortion and environmental protection enshrined in the EU charter. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday he would push to have the right to abortion and defence of the environment added to the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, as his country takes on the bloc’s rotating presidency.

“We must update this charter to be more explicit on protection of the environment, the recognition of the right to abortion,” Macron told lawmakers at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France.

READ MORE What does it mean for France to take over EU presidency?

“Let us open up this debate freely with our fellow citizens… to breathe new life into the pillar of law that forges this Europe of strong values,” he said.

The call to enshrine a woman’s right to abortion in the European Union’s charter, ratified by member states in 2000, comes just a day after the parliament elected Malta’s Roberta Metsola, a staunch abortion opponent, as its president. 

Macron nonetheless congratulated Metsola on her election in his opening remarks, acknowledging her belief in “our Europe, this Europe sustained by the values that bind and unite us.”

He also urged lawmakers to accept “this task of ours, and surely of our generation, to respond profoundly to the renewal of its promises.”

Macron also said on Wednesday that Europeans needed to build a new “security and stability framework” that would require “strategic rearmament” as well as “frank and demanding” talks with Russia.

“We need to build it between us Europeans, share it with our allies in NATO, and propose it for negotiation to Russia,” he said. 

Member comments

  1. It’s not a ‘Europe of strong values’. Far from. It’s a Europe of compromises. And when something is too difficult to compromise on , it’s left unfinished, like the single currency. The Catholic conservatives of Eastern Europe will not agree with Macron on abortion and consequently he’s setting up a fight he can’t win. The real question is why would he do that.

      1. Perhaps seeing what is happening in the US and the attack on women’s rights all over the world has triggered Macron, no doubt suggested by lawyers, to make sure some things are laid down in law.

        Codified law is always stronger than law through jurisprudence, judges’ statements. That is the main difference between legal systems in Europe, and subsequently South America and former Eastern Europe, including Russia, and the Anglo-saxon world. In the US they only need to overturn one judge’s ruling, which is easier than retracting a decades old law, debated in parliament and voted on by elected officials.

        Although abortion seems to me last resort when anti-conception has failed. Therefore a right to (free) anti-conception would seem more positive.

        1. In Poland, abortion on demand is seen as akin to euthanasia. There is no possibility that they would agree to Macron’s suggestion.

          1. It’s worth a try though. Draw clear boundaries around what is considered civilised in Europe. It seems that Trump’s people visit Hungary to see how they can copy his strategy in moving from a democracy into an authoritarian state. That shows, I would think, that we don’t take Hungary as the starting point for our own policies. And, it needs just one election, and Hungary could be back on the road to democracy again.
            I think it’s good Macron and France do something ambitious, and not just six months of “care-taking”. Otherwise it’s an example of “don’t stand up, you’re rocking the boat”.

    1. Perhaps he’s doing it because he believes that women should have a right to decide what they want to do with their own body’s, and good luck to him.

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POLICE

France proposes getting rid of penalties for ‘minor’ speeding offences

The French government is considering changing speeding laws so that drivers will not lose points on their licence if they are caught going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

France proposes getting rid of penalties for 'minor' speeding offences

France’s Interior Ministry is considering changing its current rules for minor speeding violations – proposing getting rid of the penalty for drivers who only violate the rule by going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

The Ministry has not laid out a timeline for when this could come into effect, but they said they are currently in the preliminary stages of studying how the change could be carried out.

“The fine of course remains,” said the Interior Ministry to French daily Le Parisien.

That is to say you can still be fined for going five kilometres over the speed limit, but there might not be any more lost points for driving a couple kilometres over the posted limit. 

READ ALSO These are the offences that can cost you points on your driving licence

Of the 13 million speeding tickets issued each year in France, 58 percent are for speeding violations of less than 5 km per hour over the limit, with many coming from automated radar machines.

How does the current rule work?

The rule itself is already a bit flexible, depending on where the speeding violation occurs.

If the violation happens in an urban area or low-speed zone (under 50 km per hour limit), then it is considered a 4th class offence, which involves a fixed fine of €135. Drivers can also lose a point on their licences as a penalty for this offence. 

Whereas, on highways and high-speed roads, the consequences of speeding by 5 km per hour are less severe. The offence is only considered 3rd class, which means the fixed fine is €68. There is still the possibility of losing a point on your licence, however. 

How do people feel about this?

Pierre Chasseray, a representative from the organisation “40 Millions d’Automobilistes,” thinks the government should do away with all penalties for minor speeding offences, including fines. He told French daily Le Parisien that this is only a “first step.”

Meanwhile, others are concerned that the move to get rid of points-deductions could end up encouraging people to speed, as they’ll think there is no longer any consequence.

To avoid being accused of carelessness, France’s Interior Ministry is also promising to become “firmer” with regards to people who use other people’s licences in order to get out of losing points – say by sending their spouse’s or grandmother’s instead of their own after being caught speeding. The Interior Ministry plans to digitalise license and registration in an effort to combat this. 

Ultimately, if you are worried about running out of points on your licence, there are still ways to recover them.

You can recover your points after six months of driving without committing any other offences, and there are also awareness training courses that allow you to gain your points back. It should be noted, however, that these trainings typically cost between €150 and €250, and they do not allow you to regain more than four points.

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