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Made in France? Political parties off-message

Matthew Warren · 10 Feb 2012, 11:44

Published: 10 Feb 2012 11:44 GMT+01:00

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While politicians encourage French people to buy products that are "made in France", an investigation by a daily newspaper suggests they may not be practising what they preach.

20 Minutes looked at the products sold by the three major parties contesting presidential elections this spring.

At the headquarters of the far-right Front National, T-shirts are on sale with the slogan "les gars de la Marine" (a play on words as the phrase means "the boys of the navy", but Marine is the name of the party leader, Marine Le Pen).

Selling for €10 ($13) each, shoppers might expect the fiercely patriotic party's products to be made in France. 

Marine Le Pen herself told a public meeting in December of her horror that the post office was "taking delivery of scooters from Thailand." Yet the party's T-shirts are made in Bangladesh.

"Yes, they're from abroad," the shop manager told the newspaper, "but the printing is done in France." However, he said the lighters were French-made.

At the headquarters of the governing UMP party, which President Sarkozy is likely to lead into the election when he officially declares his candidacy, there's a mixed picture.

Mugs and ashtrays proudly carry the "fabriqué en France" mark, while the T-shirts are made in Morocco and the calculators come from China.

Socialist party officials said they made every effort to have products from France but that "certain products are impossible to make in France or even in Europe."

T-shirts, yet again, are imported, this time from Portugal. "But the flags are made in the Drôme" said an official. 

Only the centrist MoDem party, led by François Bayrou, thinks it will live up to the "made in France" mandate.

It will sell T-shirts made in Brittany and pencils from the Vosges. The party's online story is still yet to launch though, so it's too early to say whether every product on sale will be proudly French.


Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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