Spotlight on France

Podcast: Vaccinating the elderly, citizen voices on climate, India's "French" city

Audio 29:05
Spotlight on France episode 46
Spotlight on France episode 46 © RFI

Why are France's elderly, and most vulnerable to Covid, not queueing up to get vaccinated? Frustrations with the slow pace of democracy after the Citizen's convention on climate. And France's presence in India: when it lost (and won back) Puducherry from Britain.


France has decided to start its Covid vaccination campaign with the elderly in care homes, which partly explains why it has been so much slower than its European neighbours. France is unique in requiring “informed consent” to administer the vaccine and the pre-vaccination doctor’s visit is slowing down the process. Laurent Levasseur, chairman of Bluelinea, a company working with 1,000 French nursing homes, talks about why the take up rate for jabs is currently so low, the importance of family GPs in gaining people's trust and how little will in fact change for residents if they do consent to the vaccine. (Listen @1'35'')

The Yellow Vest protests brought up the question of representation in France's current governing system, with people wanting more of a say. One result was the Citizen climate convention: a group of 150 randomly selected citizens tasked with proposing climate policy. We spoke about the assembly last year. In June it presented 149 proposals, which president Emmanuel Macron promised to take "without filter". So what became of those proposals? Quentin Sauzay (@qsauzay), co-president of Democratie Ouverte, the group that helped organise the convention, talks about pushing to get parliament involved and how many proposals are indeed being examined and will become law, despite comments by the president suggesting otherwise. (Listen @14'15'')

India's colonial history is linked to Britain, but France was there too, setting up the French East India company in 1674, headquartered in Pondicherry (today called Puducherry). On 16 January 1761 France lost the city to Britain, though it eventually got it back. While it was returned to India in 1962, it has kept a strong French flavour. (Listen @11'35'')

This episode was mixed by Cécile Pompéani.

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on, iTunes (link here), Google podcasts (link here), Spotify (link here), or your favourite podcast app.

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