French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte have been branded ‘shameful’ after it emerged they splurged nearly £541,000 on flowers during the pandemic.
Political publication Politis revealed the couple spent €600,000 (£540,709) on blooms for Elysee Palace, their official residence in Paris, last year.
It means their flower budget is nearly five times bigger than that of their predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hollande, who was head of state from 2012 to 2017, spent £117,153 on flowers in 2011, while Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was reported to have spent £129,770.
The French public is said to be shocked by the President, 43, and 67-year-old Brigitte’s spending at a time when the country is struggling to recover from the financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. Macron’s government just pledged 100 billion euros to boost its economic recovery.
FEMAIL has contacted the Elysee Palace for comment.
French President Emmanule Macron, 43 and his wife Brigitte, 67, were criticised after it was revealed they spent £450,709 on flowers for the Elysée Palace in 2020 (pictured in Buenos Aires in 2018)
Pictured: floral displays at the Elysee Palace, in September (left) and October (right) last year
Disgruntled members of the public called this flower budget ‘shameful’ given the coronavirus pandemic paralysed the country last year. Pictured: flowers at the Elysee Palace in September
The numbers, which were published in August and made public by Politis this week, show that the Elysée Palace ordered £540,709 worth of flowers last year.
The Palace spent £18,003 on plants, another £18,000 on orchids, £28,837 on foliage and £360,472 on cut flowers, used to make bouquets.
Politis noted that this budget was four-and-a-half times more than that of preceding presidents, who scaled back on ‘unessential spending’ during their time in charge.
It was also noted that the flower budget soared at a time when the Elysée Palace was closed to the public and very little receptions took place due to Covid-19 restrictions.
It comes after it was announced in September that the recent refurbishment of the Elysée Palace’s Golden Room over the summer had cost £838,099 – which was largely funded by the French taxpayer.
Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron pictured at the Elysee Palace handing out flowers on May 1 last year, France’s Labour Day, which is traditionally celebrated by handing out Lilies of the Valley
The couple have come under fire for their spending at a time when France is considering a third lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and is currently under a national 8pm curfew, with some areas under localised 6pm curfews (pictured in Lithuania in September 2020)
In 2018, the Palace was targeted by critics after the newspaper Le Canard Enchaine reported that it had bought a new crockery set worth £450,591.
At the time, the Elysée Palace had contested the sum, saying the price tag was closer to £45,000.
Disgruntled members of the public called this flower budget ‘shameful’ given the coronavirus pandemic paralysed the country last year.
Many took to social media to voice their frustration, with one writing: ‘We’re asked to save our money, we’re taxed more, and he’s having fun.’
‘The crisis does not affect everyone,’ another tweeted, while one joked the French President is ‘budgeting freestyle’.
Politis noted that this flower budget was four-and-a-half times more than that of preceding presidents, who scaled back on ‘unessential spending’ during their time in charge. Pictured: floral displays at the royal residence in September
‘What shame, what disrespect for those who have nothing, a waste of public money,’ raged another.
Macron introduced a 6pm curfew in 15 regions that were most affected by Covid and is now considering enforcing a third national lockdown to curb the spread, while the rest of the country is under a 8pm curfew.
The French government has also launched a €100billion plan to boost the country’s economic recovery.
The government is facing criticism for the slow pace of its vaccination regime, with just a few hundred people injected in the days after the vaccine was approved.
Flowers are used to decorate the large presidential abode. Pictured: Some arrangements seen during a virtual tour of the Palace
It was also noted by Politis that the flower budget soared at a time when the Elysée Palace was closed to the public and very little receptions took place due to Covid-19 restrictions. Pictured: a floral display at the palace in December
‘The virus is continuing to spread in France… but with a disparity between regions,’ said government spokesman Gabriel Attal as he announced the move.
‘If the situation were to deteriorate further in certain areas, we will take the necessary decisions,’ he told TF1 broadcaster.
The measure had been urged by mayors increasingly concerned that their local health systems are being overrun by an influx of new cases.
France recorded 19,814 new Covid cases on Friday, and a total death toll of 67,431.