François de Rugy, a French minister cornered by his official dinners with lobster and expensive wines
Once upon a time there was a French minister harassed by a locust. For several, those who ate at official dinners. François de Rugy, holder of the portfolio of the Ecological Transaction, salt
- Emmanuel Macron, two stormy years as president of France
Once upon a time there was a French minister harassed by a locust. For several, those who ate at official dinners. François de Rugy, holder of the portfolio of the Ecological Transaction, saves his position . But he pledged to "return every euro answered" in his lavish dinners and reforms in his official apartment when he was president of the National Assembly.
Summoned urgently on Thursday by the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, had no other to withstand the downpour for almost two hours. "Aware of the legitimate emotion of citizens for the controversy," the minister "does not want to leave any doubt." He and the prime minister "are convinced of the need to respond to the legitimate questions of the French" say Matignon sources.
Therefore, "if the slightest doubt subsists after the verification works, [Rugy] agrees to reimburse each euro answered". An inspection will verify that the works of his residence were in conformity "with the norms and the exemplariness principle".
Three revelations had targeted him. The most shocking, a dozen official dinners with lobsters and expensive wines. In other chapters, all published by Mediapart, was aware of reforms at the Hotel de Lassay, the palace that serves as residence for the presidents of the lower house, worth 63,000 euros .
Also, that the minister's cabinet director, Nicole Klein, had a social apartment in Paris since 2001 and that she kept it from 2006 to 2018 when she was not living in the capital. In an attempt to mount a firewall, she was dismissed Thursday morning .
Mediapart counted a dozen dinners at full speed. Several photos on this research website show good sized lobsters lined up on the table, champagne and great wines. In one image, we see Rugy's wife with a bottle of Mouton Rothschild 2004 harvest, which Robert Parker scored 92 out of 100 and sold online for 498 euros .
Welcome and talk
If these expenditures have bad press in times of cuts, worse was the justification. "An important part of the function of the president of the National Assembly consists in a representative work that leads him to welcome, find and converse with political leaders, French or foreign, local or national" the minister wrote on his Facebook page.
Against this, Mediapart argues that the participants "all belonged to the relational and above all friendly circle of Séverine de Rugy", wife of Rugy and journalist of the magazine of heart 'Gala'. Worse still, she recognized being "the relational filter". And he added: "For me what allows to be current and to be interested in what people do is not private but relational".
At 'Le Point' he said: "We received a variety of personalities once a month, they all had something to teach us, to share, we wanted to bring civil society and its problems to Lassay's hotel." Only that the people, in groups of between 10 and 30 guests , were "comrades of communication and journalism, directors, producers, people of finance, actresses and writers of second", according to Mediapart.
At first, "retained the confidence" of the Government, according to the spokeswoman of the cabinet, Sibeth Ndiaye. Then nuances were heard and the head of the macronista party, Stanislas Guérini, asked to pronounce the deontologist of the Assembly. The opposition reacted with restraint. Except, the ecologists from whose ranks comes Rugy, then moved to the ranks of Macron. The green spokesman, Julien Bayou, asked for his resignation after accusing him of "flagrante delicto de mentira" .
The scandal can not come at a worse time for the government of Emmanuel Macron who has just launched several environmental measures, including a tax on air travel.
Rose petals for Valentine's Day
Through the mouth the politician dies. Wednesday's security, after the council of ministers, turned to humility on Thursday. Rugy had first spoken of "very biased issues presented with malicious intent". A day later, he said: "If there have been errors of interpretation on my part, I am willing to correct them." It is normal to render accounts to the French.
Because, of course, the dinner for two with the table decorated with rose petals on Valentine's Day does not count as social relations. "The restaurant service of Lassay hotel had the delicate attention, without any previous request, of decorating the table of François Rugy and his wife", justified the ministerial environment.
The expenses of the reform in his official residence also attracted attention. Above all, the creation of a great dressing room for 16,996 euros . The detail also includes 35,390 euros in painting, 4,637 in carpets and parquets and 6,057 in remodeling a bathroom. The minister's response had been more forceful in this case. The last works of the apartment had been made 16 years ago. The apartment is arranged in an 18th century building.
Thus, the minister had to shorten his official visit to Deux Sevres, where a protester ridiculed him with a plastic lobster . Convened by the prime minister, his official, electric car arrived at Matignon yesterday at 4:30 p.m. Two hours later, the verdict arrived: Rugy remains in office but must render accounts and reimburse every doubtful euro.
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