The McKinsey Affair has been called the "McKinsey Affair", named after the American consulting firm that was hired to advise France's COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and other policies. McKinsey is accused of tax dodging in a French Senate report. This issue is motivating Macron's rivals, and hounding him at campaign stops before France's April 10th first-round presidential election.
Macron, is a centrist, who has been at the forefront of diplomatic efforts in ending the war in Ukraine. He has a comfortable lead so far in polls over Marine Le Pen and other challengers.
Macron spoke to a crowd of around 30,000 in a stadium that hosts rugby matches. Macron said that he sees difficulties in making ends meet, and situations of insecurity. But there is so much more to do to reverse extremism.
Macron spoke to people who are seeing "all their money go into gasoline bills, rent, and gas" because the conflict in Ukraine is driving up energy prices. He promised that companies would give tax-free bonuses to employees up to 6,000 euro ($6,627) this summer.
He also said that the minimum pension would be increased to 1,100 euros ($1,214 per month) for full-time workers -- an increase of 700 euros from now. He stated that the retirement age would need to be gradually increased from 62 to 65 in order to fund the plan.
He was welcomed by his supporters who chanted "Macron! President!" and waved the French tricolor flag.
For those who want to overthrow Macron, however, the term "McKinsey” is becoming a rallying call.
Critics claim that McKinsey's 1 Billion Euros spent by the French government on consulting firms last year is privatization and Americanization. They are asking for more transparency.
Last month, the French Senate published a report on the use of private consultants by government officials. The report revealed that the state has spent twice as much on these contracts in the last three years, despite mixed results. It also warned of conflicts of interest. Numerous private companies participate in consulting, including multinational Accenture from Ireland and Capgemini from France.
The most shocking part of the report is that McKinsey claims it hasn't paid corporate profits taxes in France since at minimum 2011, but instead used a "tax optimization" system through its Delaware-based parent company.
McKinsey released a statement stating that it "respects French tax laws that apply to him" and defending the work it does in France.
McKinsey was a key advisor to the French government regarding its COVID-19 vaccination program. Although it started slowly, it eventually became one of the most thorough in the world. The government of Macron also received advice from outside consultants on matters such as housing reform and asylum policy.
The Senate report revealed that such firms have lower revenues in France than they do in Britain or Germany. It also noted that Macron's spending on consultants outside of France was more than that of Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative former president.
Olivier Dussopt, the budget minister, said that the amount of state money spent on consultants was 0.3% of the total government spending on salaries for public servants last year. McKinsey received only a small fraction of this. He said that campaign rivals inflated the affair to boost their ratings.
Despite this, Macron is still hurt by the affair.
Macron, a former investment banker, was once accused of being the "president of all the rich". His ratings rose when his government spent hugely to protect workers during the pandemic. He also promised to do "whatever it takes to cushion the blow." However, his rivals claim that the McKinsey scandal rekindles fears that Macron and his government have become enslaved to private interests and are out of touch with ordinary voters.
Macron is asked about everything he sees now.
Macron stated at Saturday's rally, "The last few days I heard a lot talking about tax evasion. An American company." "I remind those who are outraged that they used them (consulting companies) in local government."
He also referred to the fight of his government to ensure that corporations pay their fair share.
He said, "The minimum tax in Europe was fought for, it was achieved,"
France is pressing for the quick implementation by the 27-nation European Union, of the minimum corporate tax at 15%. This was agreed on last October by more than 130 countries.