Le Monde apologizes after an article on the expense reports of the governor of the Bank of France

Le Monde apologizes after an article on the expense reports of the governor of the Bank of France
Le Monde apologizes after an article on the expense reports of the governor of the Bank of France

An article in the daily highlighted spending of more than 50,000 euros last year on business class travel and luxury hotels. Expenses that are ultimately not that exceptional.

The newspaper Le Monde presented an exceptional apology to its readers, as well as to the governor of the Bank of France, François Villeroy de Galhau, following the publication of an article on expense reports, reported the columnist Sylvie Kauffmann on X Thursday.

The article, titled “Luxury hotels and business class flights: the Banque de France governor’s expense reports in question”, was published on May 17. He claims that François Villeroy de Galhau has accumulated “more than 50,700 euros in expenses linked to his professional travel and meals for the year 2023 alone”.

“A figure which is largely explained by the governor’s taste for luxury hotels and business class flights,” the article further indicated.

In a right of reply published by Le Monde and on the institution’s websiteFrançois Villeroy de Galhau did not hide his anger.

He denounces a “purely personal attack, and without any basis”. And then contests the newspaper’s accusations point by point.

“Purely personal attack”

The manager first points out that “the article should have started by specifying that all of these trips correspond to the strong European and international obligations of the Bank of France”.

Concerning plane costs (27,149 euros), François Villeroy de Galhau underlines that the choice of business class is that made by “public leaders in France and in foreign countries, for reasons of work, security and confidentiality “.

As for accommodation costs, the manager denies favoring luxury hotels. Supporting evidence.

“In total, excluding the particular case of Davos, the average cost per night is 265 euros, which is a controlled budget compared to large destination cities,” he concludes.

Once these explanations have been provided, François Villeroy de Galhau attacks the daily situation directly. “Is it the desire to harm the Banque de France, and to prevent it from carrying out its European and international missions? Is it to silence one of the independent voices, which effectively sheds light – without ever polemicizing – on our situation of public finances?”, he writes, believing that Le Monde is giving in “to a populist temptation that (the) newspaper often denounces elsewhere”.

The attack on the evening daily and the governor’s reasoned response then fueled a certain buzz which prompted the newspaper to review its position.

“A mistake”

“Reading this text and the reaction of many readers have prompted the editorial management to re-examine in detail the elements of information which led to the production of this article,” added the editorial staff of the newspaper, in a published insert in the article in question.

“It appeared, in the light of these editorial discussions, that the expenses mentioned did not justify, in themselves, an article constructed from this angle”, continues the text, which refers to “an error”.

“Le Monde nevertheless chose to retitle (“The expense reports of the governor of the Bank of France in question”, Editor’s note), but not to unpublish this article, already widely read and commented on: this would lead to the disappearance of the right to response, which offers a number of explanations to the questions raised”, he justifies, before apologizing to readers and to François Villeroy de Galhau.

Olivier Chicheportiche with AFP

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