French Health Ministry’s consultancy deals under investigation

PARIS — French law enforcement officials are investigating the Health Ministry’s use of consultancies, according to information gathered by POLITICO’s Paris Influence newsletter.

The revelations follow news, first published by POLITICO in January, that France hired McKinsey and other consultancies to advise on its vaccine rollout. Although many governments and other public bodies such as the European Commission use consulting firms, the news sparked controversy in a country that has a long tradition of a powerful public sector.

According to a document dated earlier this month, the Health Ministry is responding to a request from judicial authorities for information about public tenders with consultancies. No further information was available.

Meanwhile, a police department has asked Véronique Louwagie, a conservative MP, to provide details about such contracts that she obtained through her parliamentary powers, according to an official.

The police department — the Central Office for the Fight against Environmental and Health Violations — contacted Louwagie as part of an investigation with “a European dimension,” according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

It is unclear whether the two investigations are related, and what their exact scope is.

The Interior Ministry declined to comment on the matter. The Health Ministry had not responded to a request for comment by publication time.

The Health Ministry has previously defended its use of consultancies. It has said consultancies do not intervene in the execution of policies nor policy choices, but provide external expertise on logistics and project and data management.

More Stories
The sinister neo-Nazi cult that had Met policeman in its ranks