French PM pays for sons’ trip to Berlin football match

Paris, June 19 (IANS/EFE) French Prime Minister Manuel Valls reimbursed the state 2,500 euros (around $2,800) for his sons’ flight to accompany him on June 6 to Berlin to attend the Champions League final, a journey that amounted to a total cost of about 20,000 euros of public money, French radio station Europe 1 reported on Friday.

Valls came under heavy criticism after he traveled with his sons to Berlin aboard an official aircraft to attend the Champions League final match between Barcelona and Juventus.

The Dassault Falcon 7X that took them on their voyage, usually reserved for official trips, was staffed with flight crew members, a doctor, security team members and cabinet advisors.

Valls defended that the trip on June 6 was an official one to discuss the progress made by France in organising the Euro 2016 championship, while he stressed that he was personally invited to attend the final by UEFA president Michel Platini.

Officials close to the French prime minster assured that the trip’s cost did not increase on account of Valls’s children, but their presence on an official aircraft angered his political opponents.

Last week, Valls announced that he would pay, from his own money, the cost for his two sons’ travel after apologising to the French people.

According to Europe 1, Valls issued a cheque to the treasury, which will in turn transfer the sum to the government.

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