Wednesday, October 28, 2009

MPs expenses, piffle compared to Sarkozy

Duck houses and moats , small fry compared to some of the French President's expenses:

French financial watchdogs slammed Nicolas Sarkozy for spending £160m during his country's six-month stint in charge of the EU – including £250,000 on a personal presidential shower that he never used.

The vast expense is set out in a report blaming poor management and a lack of transparency by the president's staff.

Costs soared because so many of the EU-related events were organised at the last minute, said the report.

On one occasion Sarkozy triggered the cancellation of an entire EU event he was due to host in Evian, because he wanted to sleep in his own bed at the Élysée palace. By then, hundreds of journalists, EU officials and national delegations had either already arrived in Evian or were on their way.

A flood of complaints prompted compensation payments – adding more to the eventual presidential bill.

For one three-day event alone, Sarkozy sanctioned an elaborate upgrade of the Grand Palace in Paris for an EU-Mediterranean summit – one of his pet initiatives to mark his turn at the EU helm.

The event was one of his final EU presidency flourishes last July, and involved hundreds of workmen and millions of pounds.

"The Grand Palace had to be completely refitted for the occasion. Five hundred technicians were mobilised every day, including 300 at night," said the report. Spending included nearly £1m for one dinner for more than 40 government leaders and heads of state who attended the event.

Nearly £300,000 was spent building a conference podium, nearly £200,000 upgrading the gardens and grounds, and a total bill for the Sarkozy shower of almost £250,000.

The audit report said the cost soared because of the complications of installing a state-of-the-art shower to the president's specifications in a listed building.

The president never used it – instead going back to the Élysée palace during the three-day summit to freshen up. The shower has since been dismantled.

OK, not all personal expenditure, but it shows a certain cavalier attitude to money to cancel an event on a whim of wanting to sleep in his own bed. I mean it sort of goes with the job that he has to travel .

And £250 ,000 for a shower , never used and then dismantled. How the fuck can anyone spend that amount ?

MPs, read and weep, you're amateurs .