Paris (AFP)

The culture pass, almost ten months after its launch, is under fire from critics: the opposition castigates the lack of effectiveness of the device while one of those responsible for its implementation has resigned and another has seen its remuneration scaled down.

Isabelle Giordano, president of the strategic committee of SAS (joint stock company) Pass culture, announced Wednesday before the commission of cultural affairs of the National Assembly that Eric Garandeau no longer advised her anymore: "We do not work anymore with Eric Garandeau since Monday, he resigned. "

As for the compensation of the president of the SAS, Damien Cuier, it was "reviewed downward," she said.

Following an article in Mediapart in early November that denounced this remuneration, Ms. Giordano answered a question from Michel Zumkeller, representative of the UDI group, who spoke of a potential conflict of interest concerning Eric Garandeau, presumed to chair Pass Culture and who is at the head of a consulting company according to Mediapart.

According to the news site, Damien Cuier would receive 170,000 euros a year. As for Eric Garandeau, who works on a third-time basis for the SAS, his remuneration would reach 6,000 euros per month. His company, Garandeau Consulting, would have been handsomely paid: according to Mediapart, the state would have paid 651,600 euros to it between September 2018 and May 2019.

The Minister of Culture Franck Riester had assessed the beginning of November this flagship measure of the government, speaking of a "very strong rise" of the device "on the pool of 150,000 young people (14 departments) where he is experienced.

The government launched on February 1, 2019 this measure which offers free to young people of 18 years up to 500 euros of expenses in activities and cultural goods, thanks to an application which geolocates them.

40,000 young people are enrolled in the Culture Pass, Giordano said.

In first place comes the book, followed by festivals and concerts. Third is DVDs and digital music subscriptions via Deezer.

Cinema only represents 4% of bookings. To overcome this shortcoming, mechanisms must be put in place so that the cinema can post offers in a more systematic way, and the Pass culture experience will be continued with the probable opening of new territories, Giordano assured.

Several opposition MPs had questioned the low number of registrants and the rate of consumption disappointing on the 500 euros expected, since the average amount spent would be 94 euros according to the rapporteur Dominique David (LREM).

© 2019 AFP