• France's news in English

Slush fund? France reports on 'reserve' cash

Joshua Melvin · 31 Jan 2014, 15:35

Published: 31 Jan 2014 15:35 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

For decades members of both chambers of French parliament have had at their disposal a sizeable pile of money that, with a minimum of hassle, they can hand out to organizations or towns of their choosing (including their own) each year.

The parliamentary reserve, at its called, was €90 million last year for the National Assembly, which on average came out to €130,000 per MP depending on his or her seniority. They spent €81.6 million of it in 2013.

Yet until a new report came out on Friday that accounted for each euro, there had never been a public explanation of how the money was being spent, French magazine Challenges reported. Yet the parliamentary reserve was first established as a practice in the Assembly in 1958.

According to the National Assembly website "These subsidies, offered by MPs, help finance investment in local projects...and also support the activities carried out associations."

In fact, many French institutions do benefit from the cash. For example, France’s Conseil d’Etat, the government’s top legal advisor got €250,000 from the president of the Assembly, who in addition to his €520,000 slice of the reserve last year and wielded €5.5 on behalf of the assembly. There was also much money put towards new gymnasiums or schools. 

But is all the money really being used how the rules intended? Here The Local looks at some of the strange, funny and potentially problematic recipients of the cash.

  • Deputy Laurent Wauquiez of conservative UMP party, gave a €1,000 subsidy to a car modification club (Raucoulestuning). He handed the same amount to a baton twirling club.
  • UMP Deputy Eric Ciotti, an apparent fan of the French lawn game pétanque,  gave out €11,000 to six clubs who specialize in the game.
  • Deputy Claude Bartolone, a socialist and assembly president, gave €100,000, on behalf of the assembly, to the Danielle Mitterrand Foundation. The human rights group was founded by the wife of former socialist president François Mitterrand.
  • Deputy Gilbert Collard, a member of far right party National Front, gave €40,000 to an organization that, according to media reports, is run by someone who worked with his electoral campaign. 
  • Story continues below…

    UMP Deputy Jacques Myard gave €1,000 to a fishing association called "L'épuisette du Vésinet" or the Net of Vésinet, which is a small northern France town.

  • Deputy François Sauvadet of the Nouveau Centre party gave €107,000 to Vitteaux, the town he represents. The sum amounts to about €100 per resident of the tiny east France village.

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available