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a wine lobbyist at the heart of the presidential-candidate’s five-year term and campaign

Audrey Bourolleau with Emmanuel Macron, during the visit of the candidate of En Marche!, at the Salon de l'agriculture, March 1, 2017.

She embodied the influx of representatives of civil society and the private sector into the circles of power at the start of Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term. In 2017, the new head of state appointed Audrey Bourolleau, chief lobbyist for the French wine industry, as adviser on “agriculture, fishing, forestry and rural development” in his cabinet. And it is to her, again, that the candidate Macron has entrusted this year the head of his campaign group devoted to questions of agriculture and food, a role which she had already fulfilled five years ago.

At the time, the “retro-pantouflage” of Mme Bourolleau had immediately aroused indignation within the public health community, troubled by this irruption, at the heart of power, of the alcohol lobby, the second cause of preventable premature death after tobacco, and responsible for the death of 41,000 people each year in France, according to Public Health France.

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About fifteen organizations, including the French Federation of Addictology or the National League against Cancer, had said they feared the “conflicts of interest that could arise to the detriment of public health”. Although Audrey Bourolleau had resigned from Vin & Société, the lobbying organization for the wine sector of which she had been the general delegate since 2012, the associations pointed out that, according to the law on the transparency of public life of 2013, “the appearance of conflict is enough (…) to characterize it.

Trader invited to state visit to China

Did Audrey Bourolleau go beyond appearances during her two years at the Elysée? An excerpt from his electronic correspondence, obtained by The world through a request for access to administrative documents, seems to show that yes. Did the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP), responsible for examining the declarations of interest of public officials, recommend deportation measures to the adviser? This information, covered by professional secrecy, is not public.

Far from straying from subjects related to alcohol, the president’s adviser appears, in half a dozen documents, as a facilitator of the alcohol lobby at the Elysée. In the fall of 2017, she received Antoine Leccia, the president of the Federation of Wine and Spirits Exporters of France, who had requested Emmanuel Macron by mail. In January 2018, the trader will be part of the presidential delegation during the first state visit to China.

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