Written by By Nicholas Beale
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde were told to speak German when addressing a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Bratislava.
But on Thursday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, faced calls for his resignation for comments he made to reporters after being tested for the same condition.
“I have the three red lines, all in place,” he told reporters at the Elysee Palace in Paris following news that his test results were “good.”
In a tweet, French Right leader Marine Le Pen — a strong opponent of Macron — decried the test results as “dog saliva test on our Prime Minister!”
Meanwhile, the French right-wing daily Le Figaro published the results from Philippe’s test on its front page on Friday. It listed three lines of substances identified in a hair test: benzene, fentanyl and acetaldehyde. “The exact extent and nature of the substance is unknown,” the article notes.
The article went on to explain that benzene can be an indicator of “poisonous substances” and is also “used to detect dangerous greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
Despite announcing that he had “good news,” Philippe — a conservative from the UMP party — refused to elaborate.
According to political scientist Jerome Fourquet of pollster Ifop, Philippe’s remarks have sparked public indignation. “This shows that things are not going well in France,” he said.
Die Welt newspaper, based in Berlin, cited a French government official who said the matter was not a political question, but rather a health one. But Fourquet said the words had fueled “nervousness,” and appeared to reflect “deep-seated national anxiety.”
France’s Health Minister, Agnes Buzyn, added to the outrage by suggesting that the response should have been positive. “My French Prime Minister does not have a conscience. Rather than say he had cancer, which would have been better for our country,” she said in a tweet.
Since taking office in May 2017, Macron — who is just a few months away from the 1,000 days mark — has been hailed as France’s most pro-business leader since the aftermath of the Second World War.
While widely praised for the reforms he has introduced, the 41-year-old has also been criticized for what the left calls “presidentialization” of politics, as well as for his self-proclaimed “fearlessness” in dealing with terrorism.
When journalist Alain Delord found a huge deposit of 61 million euros ($75 million) on his bank account after launching a newspaper, he charged that the “pro-capitalist” Macron had exploited the situation.
The right-wing daily Le Figaro reported on Thursday that the account was linked to Alain Delord, 39, president of the La Journalistique de France, a group run by a former presenter of television satirical show Les Guignols, who has also been arrested under “gag” orders by the government.