Paris: Nearly 300 thousand people in France have signed a petition over the past two weeks against the idea of creating the position of ‘First Lady’ for Brigitte Macron. The French President had said he wanted to “end the French hypocrisy” on the role of the President’s partner and is preparing a “Charter” to define her role and the means made available to her. But the American tradition has little traction in Europe. Nearly 70% of the French polled are opposed.
Emmanuel Macron, whose popularity has fallen to a historically low 36% in only three months in office, may be creating an unnecessary problem for himself. The left opposition is at present, like all of France, enjoying their yearly holidays and building up strength for demonstrations planned this September against labor and tax reforms. Both the left and right oppositions oppose the majority’s decision to allow Macron to reform by decree. Parliamentarians are also being told to reduce their spending and many of their privileges.
Brigitte Macron has an office at the Elysée Palace, several “collaborators” and two security agents for an estimated cost of 450,000 euros a year, according to France Television. Elysées sources say that “in order for her to have a budget, she has to have an official status but she is not elected.”
In response to the outcry, the Presidential Palace on Tuesday promised to publish “at the end of August, beginning of September” a “communiqué” on the “public role” of the First Lady and the number of people working for her but, according to the Charente Libre newspaper, not the amount allotted to her budget.
Few people in Germany and Britain know much about the First Gentlemen and don’t seem to care. The official status of First Lady in the US allegedly dates back to Jimmy Carter.