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Expressed by artificial intelligence.
By PAUL DE VILLEPIN
With ALEXANDRE LÉCHENET and OCÉANE HERRERO
— The Senate in ethical touch-up mode.
— After the Parisian tour of MBS, Riyadh renews its confidence in its French economic intelligence firm.
— Network censorship tickles power and horrifies lawyers.
Hello everyone, it’s Thursday July 6 and it’s time to lift the veil on our in-house ranking of the 40 most influential personalities working in Brussels, behind the scenes or on the political scene. After London yesterday and before Paris tomorrow, discover here the women and men who make the weather rain or shine (even in Belgium) in terms of the agenda, public policies and advocacy at European level.
POWER 40. Among this well-stocked list, we find some Frenchies rather not badly placed. Take Stephanie Riso (No. 5), a veteran of the Brexit negotiations, who became chief budget officer in March after working differently for Ursula von der Leyen. Or Philippe Léglise-Costa (n°12), experienced and feared diplomat, permanent representative of France in Brussels. Happy reading and happy discoveries!
HOLES IN THE RACKET. Senator Arnaud Bazin (LR) has decided to make lobbying more transparent, by strengthening the directory of interest representatives. He has tabled a bill to this effect, based on the work of the Senate Ethics Committee which he chairs. His proposals overlap in part with those advanced to the Assembly by Cécile Untermaier (PS) and Gilles Le Gendre (Renaissance).
In detail : the bill proposes to broaden the criteria for entering the directory, to require mention of the decision concerned, and not just the type of decision, to double the frequency of publication and to strengthen the means of control of the High authority for the transparency of public life.
Competition and good manners. The deputies are trying for their part to finalize their bill before the end of the parliamentary session. Which legislative vehicle will be retained? On the Senate side, a small hand points out to us that “the work of the ethics committee began before the ‘flash’ mission of the deputies” but that “all goodwill is welcome”.
And seamlessly. On the basis of the work of the committee, the office of the Senate acted yesterday three decrees to better regulate lobbying and ethics within the institution. Former senators, collaborators or civil servants “converted into lobbying” are prohibited from using “the means of the Senate for their activity as interest representatives”. The Questure will also regulate the access of lobbyists to the Upper House via “a specific badge”, which can be removed “in the event of formal notice”. In addition, a guide to employee ethics, summarizing their obligations, will be distributed after the senatorial elections in September.
RIYADH WANTS TO UPGRADE TO 4K. Clearly convinced by the official visit of Mohamed Ben Salmane to France, whose main objective was to promote Saudi Arabia’s candidacy for the 2030 World Expo, the kingdom is preparing to renew the annual contract that its center for the strategic partnerships signed last year with the firm ESL & Network, informed yours truly from an internal source. In charge of the country’s communication police, the subsidiary of the ADIT group “accompanies” the Gulf country in its relations with the press and plays the door opener in Paris.
For this task, the firm relies on its senior advisor Bertrand Besancenot, ex-ambassador of France in Riyadh, but also in Doha who was also Emmanuel Macron’s special envoy to the Gulf. Surveyed by yours truly, he observes that “the image of Saudi Arabia remains mainly negative in France, but that it is improving”.
They did not stay at the wharf. A landmark of former diplomats converted into business (Jean-David Levitte, Bruno Delaye, Chantal Poiret), the firm is run by Alexandre Medvedowsky and was bought by ADIT in 2020. It has just registered the arrival of Maurice Gourdault Mountain. The former secretary general of the Quai d’Orsay is already well connected to Saudi networks since as senior advisor of the Boston Consulting Group, he promotes the Saudi bid for the 2030 World Cup.
POSSIBLE TECHNIQUE. The Digital Ministry is in full after-sales service after Emmanuel Macron mentioned to mayors on Tuesday the idea of ”cutting” access to social networks in the event of a crisis similar to the riots of recent days. “The president said that it was technically possible but not that it was retained. You should never exclude anything on principle, ”tried to deflate Jean-Noël Barrot’s cab yesterday, contacted by us. All avenues remain on the table before a cross-partisan discussion this summer on the moderation devices to be put in place, if a new surge of violence comes to reverberate online.
Constitutionally complicated. It is no less than the disheveled hypothesis of some of our friends the lawyers, which Barrot himself admitted to the senators on Tuesday evening. “Such a measure would be contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights” if it were included in a bill, a specialist told my colleague Océane Herrero, adding that the Constitutional Council also contains an obstacle because “very attached to freedom of expression, as we have already seen with the censorship of the central device of the Avia law”. Then to note “that at [sa] knowledge, no liberal state has ever taken this kind of measure.
LIKE AN ELECTRONIC LETTER TO THE POST. The Senate voted unanimously yesterday evening on the digital bill, which will be able to take the path of the Assembly enriched with a few additional measures. In addition to the amendments adopted yesterday, the senators also maintained the definition of Games with monetizable digital objects (Jonum) voted in committee and left aside the host of amendments calling for the legalization of online casinos, for which the gaming sector had concentrated all its lobbying forces.
FIREWORKS. The joint joint committee on the senatorial bill to implement zero net artificialisation is meeting this morning. Discussions continued here, in particular on the rural guarantee – the minimum artificialization envelope proposed to rural municipalities. “I am confident and if, at worst, the Senate blocks, we will go to second reading”, warns the rapporteur Lionel Causse (Renaissance), who recalls that the PPL is “the best voted by the Assembly since the beginning of the legislature”.
THE DEPUTIES MAKE THE THREE-EIGHT. The green industry bill in a special committee in the Assembly is progressing very slowly. The likely to pass arms between the rebellious deputies and the chairman of the commission Bruno Millienne who accuse them of intervening all the time, may not have made it possible to advance the discussion. She stopped last night at article 4. “It’s horrible”, we texted a PJL craftsman last night to propose “time-consuming” debates. “We will probably have to do an extended session on Thursday or come back on Friday,” he feared.
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— The 500 largest Fortunes of France accumulate 1,170 billion euros in 2023, unheard of (Challenges)
— Real estate in France, gateway to money laundering: 7.3 million plots without an identified owner (Le Monde)
— Cancellation of Anticor certification is anti-corruption (AOC)
Sylvain Waserman is confirmed at the head of Ademe.
Julian Marion, chief of staff to Sonia Backès at the State Secretariat for Citizenship and deputy chief of staff to Gérald Darmanin, becomes director general of civil security and crisis management at the Ministry of the Interior. He succeeds Alain Thirionsuspected of sexual assault and suspended as a precaution.
Alexandre Pointierfinance inspector, was appointed chief of staff of Chrysoula Zacharopoulouin replacement ofAnthony Michon.
Olivier DavidHead of the Climate and Energy Efficiency Department at the Ministry for Ecological Transition, has been appointed interim Director of Climate, Energy Efficiency and Air.
ON TREND. Senator Claude Malhuret (Les Indépendants) presents the report of the commission of inquiry devoted to the TikTok platform at 10 a.m. Stay tuned, we’ll send you more info in the morning.
THE 12 BLOWS OF NOON. It was at midday, in a former airship hangar in Meudon, that the new president of Medef took off. The verdict of the ballot to elect the successor to Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux – Patrick Martin or Dominique Carlac’h – will be given at noon sharp. Your newsletter will be there!
A big thank you to : our editor Jason Wiles.