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Champagne socialist? French PM spends over $415k on plane flight, gets roasted on Twitter

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French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has come under fire over the whopping cost of his recent trip to New Caledonia and Japan, and the use of a private luxury plane for more than $415,000.

Philippe and the French delegation of about fifty people took a private plane to fly from Tokyo to Paris on their way back from an official trip to New Caledonia in early December at a cost of €350,000 ($416,000).

“I recognize that the sums, as soon as we talk about the travel of the prime minister or the President, are impressive. It is complicated and expensive to move the prime minister, I totally understand the surprise and the questions of the French people,” Philippe told RTL radio on Wednesday.

“We knew there was no commercial flight [from Tokyo] at the time we needed to return. And we knew we had to return because the president [Emmanuel Macron] was leaving for Algeria on the next morning of our return,” he said.

“The rule is that, whenever possible, the prime minister or the president must be on the national territory,” he added.

This did not save Philippe from getting roasted on social media for his lavish travel style.

“Bottom Line: a private jet at 350,000 euros at the expense of the taxpayer…There is no justification or even possible explanation. #EdouardPhilippe”

“Louis XVI had a coach, Edouard Philippe has a private jet. It was not worth staging a revolution.”

“The indecency of Edouard Philippe, worse than Valls and Fillon together, is that he is reimbursed for his private jet flight and [only] apologizes.”

“Apparently, #EdouardPhilippe quickly took the good habits of these Champagne socialists, whose obsession is to ask more and more sacrifices to the French without applying them to themselves.”

French President Emmanuel Macron’s grandiose birthday celebrations on the grounds of a royal palace drew similar rebukes. France’s youngest head of state since Napoleon will turn 40 on Thursday. Macron decided to celebrate his birthday in the Château de Chambord in France’s Loire Valley last weekend. The immense chateau, which boasts a nearly 500-hectare estate, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist attraction, located 150 kilometers southwest of Paris.

The posh gala dinner, which included some of Macron’s relatives and friends, took place in one of the palace’s 440 rooms on Friday evening. His office denied media reports that the festivities would take place inside the chateau, and said the trip was being paid for by Macron and his wife Brigitte.

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