Consulting firms: at Quai d’Orsay, suspicion of a rigged market on a communication contract

of the elements obtained by “Le Monde” throw doubt on a possible offense of favoritism in 2018 in the allocation by the government of a contract of 100,000 euros to a former communicator of Michel Barnier and Nicolas Sarkozy.


“We have the impression that there are combins: this is false.” In this March 27, on the set of France 3 , Emmanuel Macron tries to put out the fire that threatens his end of the presidential campaign. While revelations follow one another on the grip of private consulting firms, such as McKinsey, on the state apparatus during his five-year term, the president-candidate defends himself from any favoritism: “There is no contract Who has passed in the Republic without respecting the rule of public procurement: competition, transparency, responsibility for those who sign. (…) That anyone has proof that there is a manipulation puts the contract in Criminal cause. “

Documents obtained by Le Monde, however, seem to suggest that these rules have been violated at least one opportunity during the first mandate of Emmanuel Macron: in 2018, the government decided to entrust a council contract of more than 100,000 euros in Pierre-Jérôme Hénin, a well-known communicator of the Sarkozy right, by getting away from the Cardinal Public Procurement rule: the equitable treatment of all the candidates for the market. Internal emails suggest that senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have already decided to award this market to Mr. Hénin’s company even before having received all the proposals of competing providers – while being aware of the potentially litigious nature of ‘such behavior.

The case dates back to March 2018. Mr. Macron is about to launch a large series of “citizen consultations on Europe”, local democratic meetings intended to bring out ideas to reform the European Union (EU). The stakes are high for the new French president, who saw all his other ideas to refound Europe refused by the German Chancellor then, Angela Merkel.

Emmanuel Macron opens citizen consultations on Europe by a speech to Epinal, April 17, 2018. Emmanuel Macron opens citizen consultations on Europe by a speech to Epinal, April 17, 2018. Frederick Florin / AFP

A winner chosen in advance

To organize these consultations, the Government in urgency detaches around twenty ministerial advisers and senior officials, who will constitute a new “general secretariat for European citizen consultations” (SGCCE). Attached to the Quai d’Orsay, this inter -ministerial team must develop the hundreds of meetings that will take place for six months in prefectures, schools and associations in a few weeks. But a profile is missing: a communication specialist, capable of ensuring high media visibility for this initiative by President Macron, announced during his Sorbonne speech on Europe.

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/Media reports.