1 February 2009

There are some new things planned for this year in France:
New diagnostic. When you sell a house in France, if your electricity system is more than 15 years old, you must now get an electricity installation 'diagnostic' (check) done by a professional.
Livret A. All banks and post-offices now offer this popular tax-free investment bond - was 4% in January.
Euro elections. Elections will be held from June 4 - 7 - the only ones in France open to voting by British nationals.
Rent increases. A new supplement 'supplement de loyer de solidarite' is now payable by social housing tenants whose incomes go above a certain ceiling. It's to encourage only those who really need social housing to stay in that sector. Good idea!
Virtual police station. This summer you will be able to report minor crimes on a website. (Wonder if a virtual policeman turns up to investigate it?)
After-sales advice. If you need to complain, or to ask for advice, on a product bought, businesses must now only use non-premium telephone lines (so keeping customers' blood-pressure low).
Alcohol. Legal age for buying alcohol and drinking in bars is going up from 16 to 18.
Gendarmerie. I've never really understood the difference between the gendarmes and the police, but at least they are both now run by the same body: the Interior Ministry (not the Ministry of Defence).
Train mediator: If you have a dispute with the SNCF, you can now contact the Mediateur de la SNCF at 66 rue de Rome, 75008 Paris. Let's hope you are not left stranded and have to walk all the way to Paris to do so!

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