That corruption and ethics do not place very high in the French scale of values is at least very true for Government ministers. Exploiting the privileges of position is a tradition which is not only maintained but is staunchly defended. Not only did the French Prime Minister have an all expenses paid holiday at the expense of Mubarak (before he left) including the use of Mabarak’s plane, but the Foreign Minister also happily flew around in the plane of a friend of the deposed Tunisian dictator. Now it is also revealed that her parents (in their nineties) have made lucrative real estate deals with one of the dictator’s Tunisian associates.
If nothing else their choice of benefactors brings their judgements into question. And the French Foreign Minister actually being in Tunisia during the protests does not say much for the the intelligence or anticipation of her staff. She even spoke to Ben Ali on the phone during her vacation!!!!!! No doubt she wished him Bon Voyage.
Perhaps the best way to predict when the next Middle East dictator will topple is to study who is treating a French Minister to a holiday.
French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has defended a property deal between her parents and an associate of the ousted Tunisian president. ….. Earlier Ms Alliot-Marie was criticised for having flown twice on a jet owned by Aziz Miled, who was close to ex-president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. She was on holiday in Tunisia during anti-government protests in December. ….
Speaking on Wednesday on the French radio station Europe 1, her father Bernard Marie said Aziz Miled was a long-standing personal friend and “my wife and I are the only ones involved” in the business deal. Le Canard Enchaine reported that Ms Alliot-Marie’s parents, both in their 90s, already owned part of a property company, SCI Ikram, and bought the rest of the shares from Mr Miled while in Tunisia with their daughter. An aide to Ms Alliot-Marie said the minister had had “a brief telephone conversation” with Mr Ben Ali during her holiday. The aide did not elaborate further.
Meanwhile, the French government expressed its “total support” for Ms Alliot-Marie on Wednesday.
Last week French President Nicolas Sarkozy told his government to holiday at home in future. He was responding to the revelations about Ms Alliot-Marie and Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who was criticised for having enjoyed hospitality in Egypt provided by former President Hosni Mubarak. Mr Fillon admitted he took a new year break in Egypt, paid for by Mr Mubarak. The prime minister and his family were given lodgings, used an Egyptian plane for an internal flight and took a boat trip on the Nile, all at Egyptian expense.
Neither has offered to repay the costs of their holidays to the people of Egypt or of Tunisia.