France: Secretary of State Marlène Schiappa in trouble before the Senate
The Secretary of State, Marlène Schiappa, who denies having intervened in the allocation of subsidies from the Marianne fund, was heard this Wednesday morning before the parliamentary commission of inquiry. The damning findings of an administrative report undermine his line of defence.
Marlène Schiappa, the Secretary of State for the Social and Solidarity Economy and Community Life, during her hearing by the Senate Commission of Inquiry into the Marianne Fund affair, on June 14, 2023. © BERTRAND GUAY / AFP
Text by: RFI Follow
A dialogue of the deaf is essentially what we remember from these three hours of hearing, points out Charlotte Urien-Tomaka, of RFI's political service. If Marlène Schiappa acknowledges the "proven and documented dysfunctions" in the use of the Marianne fund, the Secretary of State repeats that she did not intervene "personally" in the choice of beneficiaries. "There is a selection committee that is set up. I do not intervene personally. This was disputed by the rapporteur and the chairman of the parliamentary committee of inquiry.
« It's hard to imagine that a minister and his cabinet don't operate with complete confidence. »
The Secretary of State was not really destabilized by the questions, but struggled to find arguments. His line of defense: things were done below his level. Rejection of responsibility on his cabinet. An argument that senators had a hard time hearing. "It is difficult to imagine that a minister and his cabinet do not operate in total confidence," says Claude Raynal, president of the Senate Commission of Inquiry. We cannot imagine a chief of staff or a special advisor from your advanced cabinet without making you a report, a note.»
From the first minutes of her hearing, Marlène Schiappa denied possible friendships with the journalist Mohamed Sifaoui accused of having received subsidies from this fund. The president of the Commission of Inquiry, Claude Raynal, concluded with a very strong word by explaining that this Marianne fund was a fiasco: "You noted that in the minister's response that she did not come back to question it.»
The last word was left to Marlène Schiappa. In line with her hearing, the minister assumes "all [her] responsibility", but only her "political responsibility" in the launch and monitoring of the fund.
► Read also: Guest France - Case of the fund Marianne: Marlène Schiappa "was full of contradictions" in front of the Senate
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