Olivier Véran has been sulking deputies and senators since his stroke in the Assembly in early November. A very commented absence.
For a little over a month, his appearances before Parliamentarians have been rare. On several occasions, the Minister of Health was not there to answer questions from the government. With the exception of a public session on the social security financing bill, a hearing on the state of emergency, or even for a bill aimed at improving the health system and for the commission of inquiry on the evaluation of public environmental health policies, Olivier Véran seems to be sulking parliamentarians since his coup in early November in the National Assembly.
Gérard Larcher’s letter
Returning from a visit to a hospital, Olivier Véran was angry with the opposition deputies who had just refused to extend the state of health emergency until February 16. “This is the reality ladies and gentlemen deputies, if you don’t want to hear it, get out of here!” had he gone off his hinges.
A very noticeable absence in the midst of the health crisis and with the approach of the end of year holidays. According to information from BFMTV, deputies and senators complained. Gérard Larcher, the president of the Upper Assembly, even wrote to the Prime Minister on this subject.
In this letter, he mentions the absences of Olivier Véran and Bruno Le Maire (the Minister of the Economy was not present during the debates for the finance bill), recalling that the ministers had to answer questions from parliamentarians , be present at both assemblies when the debates concerned them and added that the role of Parliament was to control government action.
“He thinks that the theater is enough”
The subject is invited to the highest summits of the state. During a lunch at the Elysee Palace, Gérard Larcher as well as the presidents of groups in the Senate again mentioned these absences, regretting that the government tends to forget its responsibility to Parliament. “We are not provided with an explanation, it will end up causing problems, a source told BFMTV. The President of the Senate may get angry.”
Jean Castex would have asked Olivier Véran to come back to the parliamentarians. If a source close to the majority assures BFMTV that the Minister of Health “will go back”, another indicates that he is “tired of the moment, he is prioritizing”. And on condition of anonymity, someone close to the majority adds that it is “not impossible that, in the somewhat theatrical exercise of questions to the government, he finds that the theater is enough.”
A point of view shared by several parliamentarians of the majority. For one of them, “he is fed up, fed up. And he thinks the Senate is useless,” he told BFMTV. Another continues: “He’s irreverent, he took the melon. He’s totally dismissive.”
In Olivier Véran’s cabinet, it is explained that the minister sat a lot in September and October and that it “is part of the role of the deputy ministers to represent him”. He is expected to be absent again from questions to the government on Tuesday afternoon – he will participate in a video conference with other European ministers on the issue of vaccines. But the Minister of Health should be present this Wednesday at the National Assembly on the occasion of the debate announced by the Prime Minister on the vaccine strategy of France.
By Céline Hussonnois-Alaya with Perrine Vasque