French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte have been labeled "shameful" after it was revealed they had spent nearly £ 541,000 on flowers during the pandemic.
Political publication Politis announced that the couple had spent 600,000 euros on flowers of the Elysee Palace, their official residence in Paris, last year.
This makes her flower budget almost five times higher than that of her 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, is said to have spent £ 129,770.
The French public is said to be shocked by the 43-year-old president 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 has just pledged € 100 billion to stimulate economic recovery.
FEMAIL has asked the Elysee Palace for a comment.
French President Emmanule Macron, 43, and his wife Brigitte, 67, have been criticized after it was revealed they were spending £ 450,709 on flowers for the Elysée Palace in 2020 (pictured in Buenos Aires in 2018).
In the picture: Flower presentations in the Elysee Palace in September (left) and October (right) of last year
Disgruntled members of the public called this flower budget "shameful" as the coronavirus pandemic crippled the country last year. Pictured: Flowers in the Elysee Palace in September
The figures, released in August and released by Politis this week, show the Elysee Palace ordered £ 540,709 worth of flowers last year.
The palace spent £ 18,003 on plants, an additional £ 18,000 on orchids, £ 28,837 on foliage and £ 360,472 on cut flowers that were used to make bouquets.
Politis found that this budget was four and a half times larger than that of previous presidents who had made less “unnecessary expenses” during their tenure.
The flower budget was also found to be increasing at a time when the Elysee Palace was closed to the public and there were very few receptions due to Covid-19 restrictions.
After it was announced in September that the recent summer renovation of the Elysée Palace's Golden Room cost £ 838,099 – largely funded by the French taxpayer.
Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, who are handing out flowers on May 1st last year, the French Labor Day, which is traditionally celebrated with the distribution of lilies of the valley
The couple have come under fire for their spending when France is considering a third lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus and are currently under a national curfew at 8 p.m., with some areas under local curfew at 6 p.m. (see Lithuania at September 2020))
In 2018, the palace was targeted by critics after Le Canard Enchaine newspaper reported that it had purchased a new dinner set worth £ 450,591.
At the time, the Elysee Palace had challenged the amount, claiming the price was closer to £ 45,000.
Disgruntled members of the public called this flower budget "shameful" as the coronavirus pandemic crippled the country last year.
Many used social media to express their frustration. They wrote, "We're being asked to save our money, we're being taxed more, and he's having fun."
"The crisis does not affect everyone," tweeted another, while one joked that the French president had "budgeted for freestyle".
Politis found that this flower budget was four and a half times larger than previous presidents who had made less “unnecessary spending” during their tenure. Pictured: flower presentations at the royal residence in September
"What a shame, what a disrespect for those who have nothing, a waste of public money," raged another.
Macron put a 6pm curfew in 15 regions hardest hit by Covid and is now considering enforcing a third national lockdown to contain the spread while the rest of the country is under an 8pm curfew.
The French government has also launched a € 100 billion plan to stimulate the country's economic recovery.
The government has been criticized for the slow pace of its vaccination regime. In the days after the vaccine was approved, only a few hundred people were injected.
Flowers are used to decorate the grand presidential residence. In the picture: some arrangements during a virtual tour through the palace
Politis also noted that the flower budget was increasing at a time when the Elysée Palace was closed to the public and there were very few receptions due to Covid-19 restrictions. Pictured: a flower presentation in the palace in December
"The virus continues to spread in France … but with different regions," said government spokesman Gabriel Attal when he announced the move.
"If the situation in certain areas deteriorates further, we will make the necessary decisions," he said to the TF1 broadcaster.
The move was called for by mayors who were increasingly concerned that their local health systems would be inundated with an influx of new cases.
France recorded 19,814 new Covid cases and a total of 67,431 fatalities on Friday.
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