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The Minister of Health singled out for her promotion of champagne

After a first existential question whose polemical resonance stretches over time (can you be Minister of National Education when you send your children to private school?), here is a second posed to the new government of Gabriel Attal: can can you be Minister of Health when you like champagne?.

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The Minister of Health singled out for her promotion of champagne

After a first existential question whose polemical resonance stretches over time (can you be Minister of National Education when you send your children to private school?), here is a second posed to the new government of Gabriel Attal: can can you be Minister of Health when you like champagne?

It is to the new occupant of rue de Ségur that the question is asked. Just appointed Minister of Labor, Health and Solidarity, the native of Reims, who is still president of the Greater Reims metropolis at the time of writing, has received the wrath of several associations for the prevention of 'alcoholism.

In question, an image that Catherine Vautrin uses as a banner on the profiles of her various accounts on social networks. The banner shows a peaceful Champagne vineyard spreading its green vine leaves under a warm spring sun, and bears the acronym of the “Mission Coteaux, Maisons et Caves de Champagne”, an association chaired by Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, one of the giants of the production of champagne. This association administers the management of the Champagne vineyard, which has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 2015.

A registration and recognition for this terroir, of which Catherine Vautrin is not a little proud: “it is a magnificent opportunity for our territory”, she testified at the microphone of France Bleu in 2022, because “it is a recognition of these women and men who have made this land of Champagne an exceptional land.” “We convey this image of dreams, of happiness, very often associated with champagne,” she adds, recalling that for Churchill, champagne was used both to celebrate a victory and to console oneself for a defeat...

That the president of an urban community located in the heart of the most famous vineyard in the world is proud of her terroir is not very surprising - nor is it reprehensible. But the appointment of Catherine Vautrin as head of the Ministry of Health has fueled the anger of associations which have made alcohol (and its promotion) their sworn enemy. Thus Sylvain Fernandez-Curiel, national coordinator of France Assos Santé, who chokes on Twitter: “that a Minister of Health whose photo in the Twitter banner promotes an alcohol, I would not have believed that possible...", he exclaims, denouncing, with a screenshot, the elected official from Champagne.

The activist is soon taken over by an outraged left. Sandrine Rousseau retweets, and the socialist deputy Arthur Delaporte, who loudly proclaims his “scariness”, adds: “Alcohol kills. Remove this photo Catherine Vautrin.

The person concerned did not need to be asked any longer. During the night, the licentious photo had disappeared from his Twitter account (but not yet, this Tuesday evening, from his Facebook account), soberly replaced by an image of his trip with Gabriel Attal to a hospital in Dijon, a health mask conscientiously affixed on the mouth and nose.

Also read: Dry January: in January, do what you please (and leave us alone)

To the indignation of the enemies of champagne, Catherine Vautrin replied “flute”. It will be difficult for her to forget that she was a passionate ambassador of this prestigious drink. In an exhaustive report, Le Monde recounts Catherine Vautrin's sparkling conversation with other personalities from the Champagne region, in 2016, during a gourmet lunch washed down, as one would imagine, with champagne.

During this exchange between gourmets, the one who probably did not know that she would one day be Minister of Health begins by laughing about a visit she had recently made to a fire station: “we would have liked to have a coffee or tea, well, we were offered a glass of champagne. Drinking a flute at 9:30 a.m. is part of the local tradition,” she relates. Adding: “Legend has it that during a birth, you dip your finger in a glass of champagne to put it in the baby’s mouth.”

A little later, she also regrets the excessively firm nature of the Évin Law which, since 1991, has regulated advertising for alcohol brands: “I am going to be politically incorrect, but with the Évin Law, champagne houses cannot not sponsor a football stadium, for example. We should be less psychorigid,” she declares.

Also read “There is nothing shocking”: Fabien Roussel speaks on beer drunk dry by Emmanuel Macron

Enough to add water (and probably not champagne) to the mill of associations which campaign for a more frank ostracization of alcohol consumption by political figures. In a press release, France Assos Santé had criticized Catherine Vautrin's predecessor, Aurélien Rousseau, for not publicly campaigning for "Dry January", the month of January without alcohol - a successful Anglo-Saxon prevention campaign. growing up in France. Aurélien Rousseau simply indicated that he would not drink alcohol in January on a personal basis. A few months earlier, a campaign to prevent alcoholism in the middle of the Rugby World Cup had been rejected by François Braun, himself predecessor of Aurélien Rousseau, according to information from France Info.

Before that, Emmanuel Macron had made these same associations scream by drinking a cold beer after a rugby match.

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