French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe defends 350,000 Euro flight from Tokyo

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Published: December 20, 2017 4:54:58 PM

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe defended his decision to authorize spending 350,000 euros ($410,000) to hire a private plane and fly him and his delegation home from a work trip to the Pacific, even though a government plane was available.

Edouard Philippe, Edouard Philippe tokyo flight, flight from tokyo to paris, paris tokyo flight, Edouard Philippe private plan spending rowFrench Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. (Reuters)

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe defended his decision to authorize spending 350,000 euros ($410,000) to hire a private plane and fly him and his delegation home from a work trip to the Pacific, even though a government plane was available. “I assume responsibility and I can explain,” Philippe said on RTL Radio Wednesday. Philippe flew to the French overseas territory of New Caledonia on a commercial flight in early December, and started the trip home on a French Air Force Airbus A340 that had carried most of his delegation on the way out, according to Agence France-Presse. But during a refueling stop in Tokyo, Philippe and his 60-person entourage left the government plane and continued to Paris on a rented A340 with only business class seats. Philippe and his team arrived back in France two hours before the governmental A340, which flew back almost empty, AFP reported.

Transporting a prime minister “is complicated and it’s expensive,” Philippe said on RTL. “I made a decision and I defend it.” He also said the overall cost of the trip was “clearly” lower than a trip to New Caledonia by Manuel Valls when he was prime minister, though he provided no figures.

While the popularity of President Emmanuel Macron has recovered in recent months, polls also show the majority of the French think his policies favor wealthier French after he scaled back a wealth tax and cut spending on housing and job subsidies.

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