An historical French drought.
After an all-time dry July, August did little to improve the weather situation. « Nearly all records were broken during the summer, says Florence Denier-Pasquier, Administrator of France Nature Environment (FNE). The Geological and Mining Research Office (BRGM) told us that for groundwater to be healthy, two very wet winters may be required. »
Since June, faced with a less favorable winter than in previous years, local authorities (departments) have implemented measures to restrict the use of water. In the summer, they were strengthened three times.
Fortunately, on August 16, a prodigious storm hit France, especially the South East and the capital. Parisians had not seen such violence since 2008. The shops had their feet in the water and the subway mouths were flooded.
Despite this stormy episode that continued into the day of August 17, the drought remained very present. The Southwest is the region with the most complaints. There were many fires, with over 40,000 hectares of land lost to fire.
Trade resumes in Ukraine and Russia
For six months, the war has been raging in Ukraine. Cities are being bombed, civilians wounded, soldiers tried. However, some good news managed to overcome the pangs of war.
On Tuesday, August 16, the first UN grain ship left the port of Pivdenny, southern Ukraine, bound for Ethiopia, carrying 23,000 tons of grain. Ukraine is not the only country that will be able to export its goods. That same month, the UN Secretary-General called for the lifting of export boycotts of Russian fertilizers and agricultural products, at the risk of a global food crisis as early as 2023. This call seems to be approved by some countries, depending on these exports.
Overview of the electoral campaigns in Italy and Sweden
In the middle of the election campaign, the Italian and Swedish far right parties spread the ink and threaten the opposing parties.
In Italy first. The leader of the nationalist movement Giorgia Meloni is given favorite in view of the polls and in the hearts of many Italians. The judicious right-wing coalition, in which the FDI is the main party with Matteo Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, leads with 46%. The left is far behind with 30%.
The far-right Swedish Democrats (SD) party has the support of 21.5% of voters. He is in the lead, far ahead of his main opponent: the moderate right party, which only gets 17.4%.
Britain: Resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Since his resignation was announced in July, Boris Johnson has been absent. Supposed to manage the day-to-day affairs until the elections scheduled for 5 September, the Conservative government leader went to Slovenia for his honeymoon, while the Central Bank warned that inflation would rise to over 13% in the autumn. Many media outlets accuse the former prime minister of doing nothing. However, by convention, it is not up to this Prime Minister to make major budget changes during this interim period. It will be to the future Prime Minister,” said Boris Johnson’s spokesperson.
As for hir heir, the polls show that Foreign Minister Liz Truss, winner of the Conservative Party’s internal elections, has a 32-point lead.
Energy prices soar
With the war in Ukraine, many countries are preparing for an inevitable energy crisis.
In Belgium, the shutdown of several nuclear power plants has been delayed, whereas the final nuclear power plant was originally planned for 2025. With rising gas prices, it prefers to delay the end of nuclear power by 2035. Without a doubt a first postponement which announces others, or even a non-sortie of nuclear, the Belgian public beginning to measure the heavy, even dramatic, consequences of such an exit scenario.
Thanks to its solid fleet of nuclear power plants, France is far less dependent on Russia than its European neighbours. The repercussions are still significant. The rise in energy costs, notably gasoline and electricity, contributed to an increase in energy inflation of 22.7%, according to INSEE. Food and transport are not left out because they also experience an increase of 7.9% and 15.3% respectively. In response to these figures, Paris has put in place various measures to help households in need. Thus, a «fuel rebate» will be available from September and October, starting at €0.30 per litre. In addition, to limit an excessive increase in electricity bills, the government is implementing its “tariff shield”. Gas prices are frozen at their October 2021 level, and those until the end of 2022.
More serene agriculture
The peak in grain prices is behind us. 2022 harvests are good and trade with Ukraine and Russia is better than we thought in early summer. Prices of other materials or services, however, remain on an upward trend. We talked earlier about transport, which is up by 15.3%, but building materials are also victims of this crisis. Prices in this sector rose by 16% on average.