The Minister of Labour, Muriel Pénicaud
, is in trouble. Before she became a minister, she was the director of Business France
, the agency promoting French business abroad, as its original name implies.
In January last year, the then Minister of Economy, a certain Emmanuel Macron, visited the CES Exhibit
in Las Vegas, to promote French start-ups. Business France asked a communications agency, Havas
to organise the trip. Total cost: 381,000 euros. By law, contractors should be selected by an open invitation to tender. Which, in this particular case, didn’t happen. Pénicaud defended herself by saying that there was no time for a tender bid and that she had alerted the authorities of the illegal procedure. Daily Libération now reveals
that she had sent in an altered report with regards to her actions and that she may be guilty of favouritism. The Minister yesterday refused to answer any questions on the matter. It is not clear as to whether her position is under threat.
Pénicaud is important to Macron because she is the one who will have to push through his ambitious labour reform
. Pénicaud would be the fifth minister to resign in the eight weeks that Macron has been a president.