Emmanuel Macron’s use of the consulting firm McKinsey at the center of criticism

The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, candidate for his re-election, during a campaign trip to Fouras (Charente-Maritime), March 31, 2022.

Ten days before the first round, Emmanuel Macron finds himself struggling with a controversy over the government’s use of consulting firms, in particular McKinsey. Traveling to Fouras, in Charente-Maritime, the candidate president denounced “untruths”before defending the use of consulting firms for specific missions.

“When you have to provide IT services, you adapt to cybersecurity, it is not a skill that you have in the State”he began by justifying, before continuing: “When you hire a civil servant, you have it for life. He must have skills that you need in the long term. When you’re on one-off assignments, it’s not a good use of your money to create a job [pour un agent] whose entire career and retirement we will pay for. »

So, according to him, it is “It is completely legitimate to say to yourself: “If I need a mission, I take someone for the mission”, either a contractor or a service provider”. Mr. Macron was then questioned about the lack of civil servants, which would have prompted the State to call on these consulting firms. “We have cut too many civil servants [qui étaient] in the field and not centrallyhe still denounced. I did not delete [de postes de fonctionnaires], but I arrive in a country where they have suppressed them. »

These criticisms come after the publication of a senatorial report, on March 17, which denounces in particular the weight taken by these consultants in the decision-making aid of large public administrations. The senators also accuse the American consulting firm McKinsey & Company of having paid no corporate tax in ten years, between 2011 and 2020.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Use of the consulting firm McKinsey: the government embarrassed ten days before the first round

“Not at these levels of amounts”

Earlier in the morning of Thursday, several presidential candidates had criticized Mr. Macron for collusion with the business community and his massive use of consulting firms during the five-year term which is ending. Valérie Pécresse, the candidate of the Republicans (LR), said that she did not want to use consulting firms “at these levels of amounts”.

“By definition, I’m not against having public-private partnerships. The subject that shocks the French is to see that McKinsey has not paid its taxes in France for ten years.estimated Mme Pécresse, for whom the use of consulting firms “will depend on the missions, and obviously not at these levels of amounts”. According to candidate LR, the expenses mentioned in the Senate report on the issue are proof that“Emmanuel Macron did not reform the state during his five-year term”. Mme Pécresse wants to eliminate 150,000 civil servant posts if she is elected President of the Republic.

Asked about LCI about her own use of these external services when she was Minister of Higher Education and Research (2007-2011), she replied: “We accuse the five-year term of Nicolas Sarkozy: it is a diversionary maneuver. » “In 2008, I once used a consulting firm for the reorganization of the ministry, not at all for the reform of universities”she explained.

“Macron returned the elevator to McKinsey”, for Eric Zemmour

The far-right candidate Eric Zemmour (Reconquest!) has promised that he will not call on consulting firms if he is elected. “I am absolutely sure” not to do so, he said on RTL, denouncing a “triple mess” : “We have senior civil servants who are not used for what they can do; consulting firms are often very expensive; with tax optimization systems, they do not pay taxes. »

Mr. Zemmour then accused Mr. Macron of having entrusted consulting missions to the firm McKinsey out of favoritism. “I think Emmanuel Macron returned the favor to McKinsey, who worked for his campaign for free”, he said. An accusation which the President of the Republic vigorously defended himself on March 27: “We have the impression that there are tricks, it’s not true. There are public procurement rules. »

Read also: McKinsey and Macron: the true and the false on the controversy

” Nothing to hide “

Gabriel Attal, the government spokesman, considered on CNews, Thursday morning, that the question of the use of consulting firms by the State caused “a lot of manipulation, a lot of instrumentalization, especially from the far right and the far left”.

The day before, Amélie de Montchalin and Olivier Dussopt, respectively Minister for Transformation and the Public Service and Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts, held a press conference – despite the reserve period – to defend themselves against criticism of the appeal by the state to consulting firms. ” We have nothing to hide “assured the Minister, who showed her willingness to provide information for “that the democratic debate can live fully”in the face of what his colleague described for his part as “political recoveries” and of “gross manipulation”.

Read also: Use of consulting firms: the government is trying to extinguish the controversy, ten days before the presidential election

The two ministers finally sought to debunk the idea of ​​a government guilty of collusion with McKinsey. “The rules of public order are respected”insisted Montchalin.

This press conference came as Mr. Macron repeatedly asserted in recent days: “There are public procurement rules”denying all “combine” – « if there are proofs of manipulation, that goes to the penal! », he was annoyed, Sunday March 27, on France 3.

Our selection of articles on consulting firms

Invisible, but omnipresent, what is the real influence of private consultants in the conduct of state affairs? This is the burning question raised at the heart of the presidential campaign by the Senate commission on the influence of consulting firms on public policy, which delivered its report on March 17. In parallel, The world conducted its own investigation, based on testimonies, open sources and requests for access to documents, to try to measure the impact of these firms on Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term.

Investigation : Article reserved for our subscribers Consulting firms, a machine installed in the heart of the State
Story: Article reserved for our subscribers From “yellow vests” to major reforms, the consultants on the front line of Macron’s five-year term
Read : Article reserved for our subscribers Consulting firm McKinsey accused of tax evasion in France
To understand : Who are the consultants and why the State uses them, in 7 questions
Search engine : Explore the 1,600 missions of consulting firms for the State listed by “Le Monde”
Read : Use of private consultants: the great opacity of the State
Read : Article reserved for our subscribers Invisible intervention, unclear status: the gender mix of private consultants advising the government
Read : Article reserved for our subscribers Behind participatory democracy, a flourishing business for consulting firms
Verification : Emmanuel Macron minimizes the use of private consulting firms

The World with AFP

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