French presidential election: what is this McKinsey controversy that eludes Emmanuel Macron?

Présidentielle française : quelle est cette polémique McKinsey qui éclabousse Emmanuel Macron ?

In the immediate vicinity of the presidential election, the Macron camp has been trying to address controversy over the use of consulting firms, particularly McKinsey, which opponents of the presidential-candidate presented as a symbol of collusion with the business community. Is.

“The opposition has succeeded in making it a sticking plaster for us” since the Senate’s revelation on March 17 of a sharp increase in executive contracts with private advisers since 2018, the majority official recognized.

About ten days before the first round, all opponents of the presidential candidate, from Jean-Luc Mélenchon to Marine Le Pen, have seized the case. “Emmanuel Macron and his friends are trying to push McKinseygate under the rug, a real state scandal”, tackles Jordan Bardella (RN), while Eric Zemor accuses Emmanuel Macron of “returning the favor” because ” The McKinsey people worked on his election campaign”” in 2017.

Ecologist Yannick Jadot promised them that, if they were elected, it would be “an end to the intolerable arrogance” of consulting firms, which “with hundreds of millions of euros, on government orders, thought about the abolition of hospital beds”. , reduction in APL (Individual Housing Assistance) and other brutal reforms”.

The controversy is fueled by some of the contracts unveiled by senators related to divisive reforms, such as the APL, or even “the development of the teaching profession” and a report on their qualifying pay. According to this report, the consultation expenditure of ministries increased from 379.1 million euros in 2018 to 893.9 million euros in 2021.

The controversy strikes the social network, where Emmanuel Macron is accused of causing harm to health or using public funds to promote private interests. Without managing to close the debate, the presidential-candidate has already justified himself twice. “We think there are tricks, it’s lies. If there is evidence of manipulation, it goes to the criminal”, he launched on Sunday at France 3.

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case sensitive to macaroni

“We’ve done a lot of bullshit in recent days. When you want to go very quickly and very hard on policy, you sometimes have to use out-of-state service providers”, he pleaded further in Dijon on Monday. . “Three quarters were used to finance cyber” or other “new threats”. And to add “I won’t justify every contract, you have to question the minister who signed it”.

Opponents “tried to make him the President’s Bocasa Diamonds, but that’s not a real topic. Everyone uses consulting firms,” ​​insisted a pillar of the majority.

For Macroni, the matter is even more sensitive as it risks reviving the image of the “president of the rich” who polluted the start of a five-year term.

A relative of the presidential-candidate denounced “stinky balls” at the end of the campaign Wednesday, targeting an investigation by the Off Investigation site published Tuesday evening that questions Emmanuel Macron’s legacy based on declarations of “personality”. picks up. Close to Rothschild Bank” on condition of anonymity ensuring that its managing partners will be partially paid in tax havens.

Bercy declined to comment. “No fraud, no facts, no evidence,” replied Mr Macron’s campaign team. A member of the government said, “This is nonsense. It is depressing. It usually prompts me to stop politics.”

For Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, the McKinsey case is “evidence of the enormous disorganization of the opposition (…) to escalate matters that do not exist”.

“We have no lessons to learn (…) Emmanuel Macron has fought tax evasion for five years, fought tax optimization, established the taxation of the digital giants”, he told Europe 1 on Wednesday. However, the Senate Commission of Inquiry also noted that McKinsey’s French entities had not paid any corporate tax for ten years.

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two ministers ahead

To try to quell the controversy, the government sent two ministers, Olivier Dussopt (Budget) and Amelie de Montchalin (Change and Public Service), to a press conference in Bercy this Wednesday evening.

The use of consulting firms is “common and useful”, he noted. In response to fears of public authorities’ reliance on some consulting firms, Minister of Change and Civil Service Amelie de Montchalin recalled that “no consulting firm has decided on any reform and the decision always lies in the state”. “We haven’t absolved ourselves of our responsibilities,” she said. The practice is according to its “comprehensive”, “general” and “useful” in most cases.

There is also no interdependence between consulting firms and the state for Public Accounts Minister Olivier Dussopt, who confirmed during the same press conference, that the use of consulting firms represented “0.3% of the total state wage bill”.

More specifically, the McKinsey firm, in the limelight because it is accused of not paying corporate taxes in France between 2011 and 2020, represents 5% of state strategy consulting expenditures, Mr Dussopt elaborated. . And the government represents 5% of McKinsey’s business, he said.

“McKinsey’s tax position is protected by tax secrecy, our services have conducted a control campaign in late 2021”, said Minister Dussopt, refusing to comment on the consequences or possible consequences of this control.

There is “nothing to hide”, insisted Olivier Dussopt, who insisted that the state has shown “transparency” by answering questions from the Senate Commission of Inquiry on the growing influence of consulting firms. Personal. “All rules of public procurement have been respected,” said Amelie de Montchalin.

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necessary corrections

If “the state considers outright to use consulting firms in certain circumstances”, it believes that reforms are necessary, according to the minister.

A new principle for the use of consultants was defined last January to ensure that public services did not have the skills before resorting to consulting firms.

Amélie de Montchalin wants to “retrain the state to strengthen internal skills” and plans to “reduce the use of external consulting services by at least 15%” from 2022.

After the press conference the Senate Inquiry Committee estimated that the government was continuing to “minimize the influence of the advisers”. She underlines that this government communications exercise on the Bercy campus “has not removed all gray areas” “ten days before the first round”.

“The nuisance of McKinsey’s mission on the future of the teaching profession”, “the distribution of contracts during a health crisis” or the use of the McKinsey firm despite doubts about its tax status are examples of an “ambiguity” that reinforces “distrust”. atmosphere”, in a press release condemned the senators of the Commission of Inquiry.

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