PARIS >> Maintaining his boyish good looks does not come cheap for President Emmanuel Macron. Since Macron became France’s youngest modern president, in May, his office has spent 26,000 euros, or $31,000, for a makeup artist to be at the ready for his public appearances.
The Élysée Palace, the French president’s office, confirmed today a report the day before in the magazine Le Point that said two bills, one for 10,000 euros and another for 16,000 euros, had been sent to the palace for services provided by a makeup artist for Macron.
Officials told Francetvinfo that the charges were for “external services that took place in the recent months and that were suited to the moment’s urgency.”
Those moments, according to the president’s office, included “press conferences and visits abroad,” which apparently required a beautician to travel with Macron to promptly apply powder, toner and other cosmetics.
Since he assumed the presidency, Macron, 39, has bounded on to the international stage in carefully crafted public appearances with leaders several decades older, including President Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Chancellor Angela Merkelof Germany.
“Why, but why, does a young, naturally good looking, President who has hardly spoken on television since his inauguration, need this?” Francois Heisbourg, a former government official, wrote in a post on Twitter.
Aides to Macron acknowledged to BFMTV in France that his cosmetic costs were “expensive, but less than for his predecessors,” and that they were likely to be “significantly reduced” in the future.
Macron’s expenses recalled the controversy over the costs incurred by his predecessor, François Hollande, a socialist, who paid 9,895 euros a month — more than $10,000 — for a personal hairdresser.
Nicolas Sarkozy, another former president, reportedly paid his personal beautician 8,000 euros a month.
The news of Macron’s pricey makeovers comes as his government is scheduled to present sweeping changes to French labor laws next week that critics say could undermine workers’ job security. His decision to challenge the almost sacrosanct French labor code and his political missteps and blunders this summer have caused Macron’s public approval rating to drop precipitously in his first months in office.
In July, his government announced a series of unpopular austerity measures to close a $9.5 billion budget shortfall, including cuts in housing benefits for thousands of students and low-income households. Earlier this month, the president had to back away from proposals that his wife be given an official status as France’s first lady.
Macron had hoped to restore public confidence in his leadership on a tour of Eastern Europe, where he was to meet with the leaders of Austria, Romania and Bulgaria, where he delivered a stinging rebuke today to the government in Poland.
He criticized the policies of the right-wing government of Poland’s Law and Justice Party, saying it was going “against Europe’s interest.”
The prime minister of Poland, Beata Szydlo, shot back at Macron, saying, “Perhaps his arrogant comments result from lack of political experience.”