“McKinseygate” tracks Macron’s re-election campaign – POLITICO

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PARIS — Opponents of French President Emmanuel Macron have come up with a trick to anger him in the final leg of his hopefully re-elected campaign: ask any idea he proposes if it comes from McKinsey.

The government’s use of advisers during Macron’s presidency has become a thorn in his side, prompting two ministers to take the stage on Wednesday to shield Macron from a growing controversy just days before the first round of the presidential election.

“We have nothing to hide,” Amélie de Montchalin, Minister for Public Transformation and Services, said at a news conference alongside Budget Minister Olivier Dussopt, who said the debate over the use of consultancies was the object of “political exploitation” and “crude”. become manipulation.”

Both were referring to a nationwide debate sparked by a parliamentary report released earlier this month on the same day Macron unveiled its political platform – and a year after POLITICO first reported the government was hiring leading consultancy McKinsey had to help with COVID vaccine rollout, raising questions about general usage of consulting firms.

After a four-month investigation, senators found that Macron’s government and French public administrations have signed deals worth at least €2.4 billion with consulting firms since 2018 to work on issues ranging from pension reform to digital transformation, and that consulting firm utilization has skyrocketed during his five-year tenure.

Lawmakers also said McKinsey had not paid corporate tax in France for at least 10 years – an allegation the firm denies.

As the chorus of criticism grew louder and the hashtag #McKinseyGate spread on social media, Macron and his ministers had to respond.

The President said on Sunday that government procurement rules had been respected. Critics make it sound like “there are shady deals out there, but that’s not the case,” he said. He urged his opponents to “go to court” if there was “evidence of manipulation.” [of the rules].” His irritated response was reminiscent of his reaction during a previous crisis involving a former security aide, when Macron challenged his critics to do so “come for him” if they dared.

That response has been widely interpreted as overly defensive, even among Macron’s supporters, who fear the McKinsey affair is likely to linger, particularly in a country that prides itself on the excellence of its public services and has a long tradition of skepticism about interference from the government private sector has in affairs of state – all the more so when it comes from an American company.

The government said it spent €893 million on advisory services in 2021, citing the pandemic crisis as the reason for the figure. It also said that France lags behind many other European countries in its use of consulting firms, but nonetheless said it will take new measures for a “more reasonable and moderate” relationship with such firms.

It also said an investigation was being carried out to ensure McKinsey was paying the correct amount of tax in France and denied any collusion between its advisers and Macron’s party.

But opponents are still using the affair to stoke an anti-Macron agenda ahead of voting in the first round of the April 10 presidential election, while conspiracy theories about McKinsey’s influence have also surfaced.

Amid growing concerns about the cost of living, particularly over the war in Ukraine and its impact on energy prices, Macron has been attacked by both the far right and the far left.

“With Emmanuel Macron, McKinsey, which cost you €1 billion for very vague missions last year, will continue to gorge itself on public funds, pay no taxes and lie to the Senate!” Rally candidate Marine Le Pen tweeted.

Xavier Bertrand, a prominent Conservative leader who supports presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse, called The use of consulting firms during Macron’s tenure was a “state scandal” and should require judicial investigations – despite figures showing a significant level of outsourcing to consulting firms during the tenure of former Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, when both Bertrand and Pécresse were ministers.

Far-right candidate Eric Zemmour suggested that the deals with McKinsey were the result of the high number of advisers who worked for Macron’s previous presidential campaign.

Macron’s camp fears the controversy could revitalize Macron’s image as president of the rich. This cliché, which plays on the President’s past as a former Rothschild banker, becomes the epitome of everything the Yellow Jackets movement fought against.

A government adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Macron had difficulty responding because of the crisis in Ukraine, but added that the McKinsey controversy was being taken seriously.

https://www.politico.eu/article/mckinsey-gate-emmanuel-macron-campaign-france/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication "McKinseygate" tracks Macron's re-election campaign - POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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