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France

Can reality TV boost the French president's popularity?

© Elysee.fr

Text by Thomas HUBERT

Latest update : 2013-11-28

A video series produced by the French presidency offers a behind-the-scenes peak at the workings of the Élysée Palace in a bid to boost its popularity with a disgruntled public and reconnect with the French people.

The first in a series of reality TV-style videos is offering the French public a glimpse of the inner workings of presidency.

During the November 20th French-Italian summit, the Élysée Palace invited a student from each country to follow President François Hollande’s visit to Rome and filmed them as they joined the press pack.

The video was unsurprisingly edited by the presidency’s communication department.

Despite the government’s best efforts, early indications are that this latest gambit has fallen a little flat. French newspaper Midi Libre did not seem convinced by the first episode, which it said took place in a “rosy political world”. It argued that the video series is an “an attempt to restore the image of the presidency at a time when the popularity of politicians hits an all-time low”.

A few shots reveal amusing aspects of the state visit, such as Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino nervously smoking a cigarette on a balcony as she waits for President Hollande, but it is generally rather dry.

Michele and Victoire then mingle with French and Italian telecoms bosses as they wait for the final statements by President Hollande and Prime Minister Enrico Letta, and quiz protocol officers on the negotiations behind artfully placed French, Italian and European flags in the room.

The backstage sequences are sprinkled with the opinions of Michele, 22, and Victoire, 24, on European co-operation. “My dream for Europe is that it remains strong,” she says. “Mine is for less division and more unity,” he replies.

Backstage at the French-Italian summit (in French)

Date created : 2013-11-27

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