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How very French this defence is

The row will coincide with the publication next week by state auditors of a report denouncing managers at the prestigious social sciences college — which has groomed generations of French leaders — for awarding themselves pay rises and perks on a vast scale.

Excerpts leaked to the French press say the auditors will question Descoings’s annual remuneration, which rose by as much as 60 per cent between 2005 and 2011 to reach €505,806 (£404,000).

The report also notes that the institute distributed a total of €295,000 in bonus payments to ten senior executives last year, paid the rent for two academics with flats in expensive districts of Paris and distributed credit cards to staff without checking how they were used.

Auditors say the failings stem from Sciences Po’s hybrid status: it is a publicly funded establishment that received €63.3 million from the Government in 2010 while being run by a private foundation.

The report notes “the absence of all control by the State” — a criticism that detractors say applies to many institutions of influence in France.

That\’s the analysis: here\’s the defence:

Its board of directors will try to brush off the attack as a misguided attempt to impose conventional thinking on an organisation of unique brilliance,

Just about the French defence for everything, isn\’t it? From the economy through to the rugby team.

5 thoughts on “How very French this defence is”

  1. In any given media storm, I always like to imagine how the French would have responded. The news that General Petraeus was caught shagging his biographer would be met with a distinctly Gallic shrug.

  2. Funny, because I was thinking much the same thing, i.e. typically French, this morning when I was reading about the Elf bribery scandals of the ’90s:

    Mr Dumas, dubbed by one French paper as “the prince of intrigue in Mitterrand’s palace”, will stand trial this autumn for complicity in the misuse of Elf funds. He is alleged first to have persuaded Elf to employ his then mistress, Christine Deviers-Joncour, a former lingerie model who has written three bitter if entertaining kiss-and-tell books about her experiences, one entitled Whore of the Republic.

    Once installed at the then state-owned multinational, Ms Deviers-Joncour has admitted, she received some £6.6m from Elf to lobby her lover to approve the controversial 1991 sale of six frigates to Taiwan by another state-controlled firm, Thompson.

    Can you imagine this happening in any other country (with the possible exception of Italy)?

  3. The news that General Petraeus was caught shagging his biographer would be met with a distinctly Gallic shrug.

    From memory the Clinton-Lewinsky thing was met with outright curiosity – how could M. Le President have a mistress who looked like *that*? Surely the Americans were scandalised because they thought he could do better?

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