a budget with fuzzy outlines

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Officially, the budget of the Biarritz summit is 36.4 million euros. A figure "very much lower than the figures we have known for previous summits," according to the government.

By Cédric Pietralunga Posted today at 19h55

Time to Reading 3 min.

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Police patrol near the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz where the heads of state and government of the G7 countries will meet, Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 2019 © Jean-Claude Coutausse for Le Monde
Police patrol near the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz where the heads of state and government of the G7 countries will be welcomed, Thursday, August 22, 2019 – 2019 © Jean-Claude Coutausse for Le Monde Jean-Claude Coutausse

This is one of the hidden stakes of the G7 summit, which begins Saturday, August 24 in Biarritz and must gather for three days heads of state of major industrialized countries: manage to make the cost of the event acceptable, while many associations denounce an indecent waste and that the program was placed under the sign of the fight against inequalities.

Read the editorial: G7 Summit: Turning word into action

Officially, the budget of the Biarritz summit is 36.4 million euros. In any case, it was the sum voted by Parliament. " This is a figure well below the figures we have seen for previous summits, whether in Canada or Italy Said government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye on Wednesday (August 21st).

Compared to the previous summits, the figure appears very reasonable. According to Canadian media, the G7 held last year in Quebec would have cost some 400 million euros. In front of journalists, Wednesday, August 21, Emmanuel Macron has also gargled, explaining that France had managed to do better with "A factor of ten".

"It's the closing price" at the Canadian G7

The budget of Biarritz, "It's the price of the fence" installed around the Manoir Richelieu complex, where the Canadian G7 took place, even joked the head of state. In reality, this three-meter-high fence, equipped with cameras every five meters, cost just under $ 4 million (€ 3.6 million).

Read our report: In Biarritz, before the G7: "We have the feeling of living in the heart of the summer with a fall attendance"

"France wanted to control costs and be exemplary"confirms Jean-Pierre Thebault, the ambassador in charge of preparing the G7. The Biarritz summit alone will only represent 80% of the overall budget, as Mr Thebault explains:

" The meetings Preparations between Sherpas and Ministers, which took place throughout the year at different locations, account for about 20%. "

Still, comparisons are difficult. The G7 organization did not want to disclose the expenses specifically included in the budget and those that are not. The cost of mobilizing the 13,200 police and gendarmes responsible for ensuring the security of the event was thus not revealed, not to mention the many soldiers deployed around Biarritz, but also at sea.

Call for the generosity of several companies

Similarly, France has decided to appeal to the generosity of several companies to reduce the bill. Engie, Edenred, L'Oreal, Suez, Orange, but also many local SMEs have been invited to provide a number of services free of charge. "The president did not want a financial contribution but concrete benefits. It's a win-win agreement: companies showcase their know-how and it does not cost the taxpayer anything ", justifies Mr. Thebault.

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