This is a warning, in good and due form, launched last Wednesday by Emmanuel Macron in the Council of Ministers: "You hold a demanding position. It requires all of us rules of sobriety and a great deal of discernment between what belongs to the private and the public ", calls the head of state in a cathedral silence. Around the big oval table of the Salon des Ambassadeurs, a minister of weight is missing: François de Rugy, who resigned the day before after a series of revelations about his supposed way of life.
"The president was very calm. But it was clearly taken as a call to order, "said one participant. Another, more bitter: "Frankly, which one of us can honestly swear that he has never been in the gray zone? Now, we say that anyone can take a cartridge. A form of psychosis seems to have seized the highest levels of power. None of the ministers we asked for actually wanted to speak publicly.
Some points to clarify
However, Édouard Philippe thought he had set the rules of the game at the beginning of the five-year period, through the circular of May 24, 2017, entitled, in all modesty: "An exemplary, collegial and effective method of government work," and in which he recalled "That the use of public money should be limited to the strict fulfillment of the ministerial mission by not taking advantage of its functions for oneself or for one's family […]. In general, personal or family expenditure can obviously not be borne by the State.
Sufficiently clear in the eyes of Matignon, but for all members of the government: "It's still free interpretation. Everyone puts the cursor in his own way, "slips one of them.
So, according to our information, "the case" François de Rugy could push the Prime Minister to review his copy. "The recent news has shown that there may be some points to clarify, especially on work in the staff housing," says a colleague. The idea of updating the famous circular makes its way to rue de Varenne, "to restore the rules of the game," says one. Potentially in the next few days.
"Line Renaud, is it private or public? "
Because in the corridors of ministries, questions are still legion. "The problem is that there is always a promiscuity between private and public lives. As a result, there is a kind of confusion. Line Renaud, is it private or public? ", Calls the head of cabinet, while envelopes related to entertainment expenses are capped at 100,000 euros per year for a secretary of state, 120,000 euros for a minister to a minister, and 150,000 euros for a full minister.
They cover reception expenses such as the reception of a foreign counterpart, the organization of a press point, a prize-giving or decoration. For private dinners, family meals or personal purchases, it is up to each one to take charge of them. "When Edouard Philippe makes a private meal, he pays by check," swears his entourage. "There is an administrative fee for meals. Either a check is actually paid, or it is debited with the monthly allowance, "says an influential minister.
A practice that was already in use during the last five years. Thus, when Manuel Valls was in Beauvau, a system had been set up which meant that each employee received a list of his private meals at the end of each month: 4 euros a light snack, 10 euros a meal full. Not sure, however, that the new circular goes into the smallest detail.