Brigitte Macron to work on charities as unofficial 'first lady'

AFP
Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, will represent France and carry out charity work but not have the official status of “first lady."
AFP

Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, will represent France and carry out charity work but not have the official status of “first lady,” following opposition to giving her this title, the presidency announced yesterday.

A proposal by Macron during campaigning earlier this year to create a new first lady status has been shelved, but the presidency had promised to clarify her position and the resources at her disposal.

The former school teacher will have two presidential advisers and her own cabinet, paid for from Macron’s budget, and will focus on working with charities helping children and handicapped people.

She will also “represent France at her husband’s side during international summits and meetings” and work with the partners of other global leaders to highlight work to combat climate change or domestic violence.

An online petition this month against creating an official first lady role, which would have required a change in the law or constitution, garnered more than 300,000 signatures.

An opinion poll this month showed a majority of French people were also opposed, even though Brigitte Macron is a popular figure, who has taken to public life with aplomb.

She said in an interview with Elle magazine last month that she would be an “unofficial first lady” in the mold of previous presidential spouses.

“Like all of those before me, I will take on my public role, but the French people will know the resources at my disposal,” said the 64-year-old.

She accompanied the president to a G7 summit in Italy and was also by his side when he welcomed American President Donald Trump to Paris in July.

Macron’s office had promised a “transparency charter” which would make clear how much her role would cost.

The statement yesterday confirmed that she would not be paid but did not reveal the overall bill or the number of staff at her disposal.

President Macron has made a mixed start to his five-year term, which has seen his approval ratings topple to the mid-30s percent after 100 days in office, according to recent polls.



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