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LIVING IN FRANCE

Food, fuel and transport: Which prices will rise in France in 2023?

Retail bosses have warned of a 'tsunami' of rising prices in France in 2023 as inflation is set to spiral when government price protections end - here's what we know about the items that will increase in price from January.

Food, fuel and transport: Which prices will rise in France in 2023?
Food prices are predicted to rise sharply in 2023. Photo by Christophe SIMON / AFP

Electricity and gas bills

French households have so far been extremely fortunate compared to their European neighbours, and have seen minimal or no rises to their utility bills. This is because the government imposed a price freeze on gas prices and a maximum four percent rise on electricity prices, but both of these measures expire at the end of this year.

From January, gas bills can rise by a maximum of 15 percent and from February electricity bills can rise by a maximum of 15 percent. For the average household, this will represent an extra €20 a month. 

EXPLAINED What your French energy bills will look like in 2023

Petrol prices

The government is also currently helping out motorists with fuel prices using the fuel rebate – which is applied at the pump and results in lower costs to motorists filling up their cars. In mid November this fell from 35 cents per litre to 10 cents a litre, and will disappear entirely at the end of the year.

This will result in an extra €5 for the average driver to fill their car compared to the December price, and an extra €17.50 compared to the early November price. 

From January there will be €100 grants available for motorists on a low income who need their car for work – full details here.

OPINION An inflation ‘tsunami’ is about to hit France

Driving will also become more expensive in France for those taking toll-roads. The French ministry of transport announced that in February 2023, toll fees on France’s main motorways will increase by an average of 4.75 percent. 

READ MORE: Péage: Toll rates for motorists in France to increase in 2023

Food prices

The price of food has already risen significantly since 2020, but supermarket boss Michel-Edouard Leclerc (head of the E.Leclerc chain) has warned of a “tsunami” of price rises in 2023.

This is largely due to suppliers increasing prices, he said, after trying not to pass on price rises to customers in 2022, so is likely to affect all supermarket chains.

Leclerc himself listed some of the predicted rises with preserved fruit and vegetables rising by around 20 percent, animal products by 15 percent and coffee by 10 percent.

Rising prices from food suppliers will also have a likely knock-on effect on the prices at restaurants and cafés.

Train tickets 

Train tickets are also set to rise in 2023, to cover rising utility costs for the company, although the transport minister requested that the state-owned SNCF apply a ‘price shield’ to rises. 

The average price rise will be five percent, applied on TGV services and regional trains. The price rises will come into effect “in 2023” with no exact start date given. 

Public transport users in Paris are also likely to see price rises, with the monthly Navigo pass set to rise to either €80 or €90. Individual tickets were also expected to rise from €1.90 to €2.30. As for the 10-ticket carnet, the price could rise from to €20.30. This package is currently available at €16.90 for paper tickets, and €14.90 when purchased with Navigo easy or on a mobile phone.

The final price increases, to be applied starting in 2023, are still being negotiated between local and national authorities.

READ MORE: Paris public transport ticket prices set to rise in 2023

Clothes 

The price of clothing around Europe has already risen and is projected to rise by between five and 20 percent during the final months of 2022 and start of 2023, according to the Union des industries textiles (textile industry union).

This is related to the rising price of oil since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – oil is needed to make certain fabrics like polyester while rising fuel prices also have an effect, since 96 percent of clothes on sale in France are made abroad. 

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POLITICS

French parliament debates pension reform as new strike looms

A stormy debate kicked off in France's parliament on Monday over a highly contested pension reform championed by President Emmanuel Macron, a day ahead of new strikes and mass demonstrations against the plan.

French parliament debates pension reform as new strike looms

The reform is the flagship domestic policy of Macron’s second and final term in office, with the president determined to implement it despite fierce opposition from the political left and unions, but also the wider public.

At the start of the parliamentary debate, Labour Minister Olivier Dussopt struggled to make himself heard above loud booing and shouting.

READ MORE: LATEST: How Paris transport will be hit by Tuesday’s pension strikes

“Here we are, even if you don’t want us to be, here we are,” he said.

“Our (pensions) system is structurally in deficit… Doing nothing is not an option.”

Speaker Yael Braun-Pivet urged lawmakers to keep quiet, telling them: “We’re not at a protest, we’re in the assembly”.

Macron’s ruling party lost its overall majority in elections last year, even though it remains the largest faction.

His government under Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne wants to pass the legislation with the help of allies on the political right.

The government is also trying to avoid using clause 49.3 of the constitution — an article which allows the automatic adoption of a law without a vote.

Such a move would risk stoking further protests.

Left-wing opponents of the administration filed thousands of amendments ahead of the parliamentary debate beginning.

‘Huge mobilisation’

Walkouts and marches are planned for both Tuesday and Saturday, although unions for rail operator SNCF said they would not call for a strike at the weekend, a holiday getaway date in some regions.

Trains and the Paris metro are again expected to see “severe disruptions” Tuesday according to operators, with around one in five flights at Orly airport south of the capital expected to be cancelled.

“We’re counting on there being rallies so that the country’s elected representatives take into account the opinion of citizens,” Philippe Martinez, leader of the hard-left CGT union, told the France 2 broadcaster on Monday.

Last week’s demonstrations brought out 1.3 million people nationwide, according to a police count, while unions claimed more than 2.5 million attendees.

Either way, it marked the largest protest in France since 2010.

With pressure growing, Borne on Sunday offered a key concession to win support from the conservative Republicans party in parliament.

While the reform will set a new retirement age of 64 for most workers — up from 62 — Borne said people who started work aged 20 or 21 will be allowed to leave work a year earlier.

Calling the offer a “band aid”, the head of the CFDT union Laurent Berger said that the move was not “the response to the huge, geographically and professionally diverse mobilisation” that has swept France.

But Republicans chief Eric Ciotti told newspaper Le Parisien that he would back the reform, potentially securing a majority for the government.

Keep seniors working

After an attempted 2019 pensions reform that was stymied by the coronavirus crisis, the changes mark another step by reformist Macron in aligning France with its EU neighbours — most of which already have higher retirement ages than the proposed 64 years.

He aims to lift the pensions system out of deficit by 2030 by finding around €18 billion of annual savings — mostly from pushing people to work for longer and abolishing some special retirement schemes.

But while Borne and others have insisted theirs is a fair reform, critics say that women will on average have to wait still longer for retirement than men, as many have interruptions in their careers from childbearing and care responsibilities.

Opponents also say the reform fails to adequately account for people in physically strenuous jobs like builders and doesn’t deal with companies’ reluctance to hire and retain older workers.

Borne said the government would pile pressure on companies to end the practice of letting go of older employees, which leaves many struggling to find work in their final years before pension age.

“Too often, companies stop training and recruiting older people,” Borne told the JDD weekly on Sunday.

“It’s shocking for the employees and it’s a loss to deprive ourselves of their skills.”

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