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French media blasts Macron for delaying poverty plan to 'go to World Cup'

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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros  & Emma Beswick
French media blasts Macron for delaying poverty plan to 'go to World Cup'
Copyright  REUTERS/Francois Mori

The presentation of a "poverty plan" by President Emmanuel Macron has been postponed to September instead of next week as planned, according to French media.

The Minister of Health and Solidarity Agnes Buzyn said on French TV on Wednesday that the disclosure of the anti-poverty plan could be delayed until September.

According to LCI, Buzyn suggested that the results of the French football team at the World Cup could intervene in the president’s agenda for the coming weeks since he had engaged himself to follow the championship if the “Bleus” made to the semi-finals.

Le Parisien wrote that the head of state would "not want to see an announcement of this magnitude go unnoticed, engulfed between two World Cup games at very high stakes".

Macron had promised he would go to Russia to support Les Blues if the team qualified for the quarter-finals. During a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in May, Macron said: "If the French team win the quarter-finals, I will come back to Russia to support them."

The potential match against Brazil or Belgium would take place on July 10 at 8 pm.

Critics of the Macron government criticised the president's "lack of priority" on social media.

The Socialist Party candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, Benoit Hamon, commented on Twitter "Panem and Circenses", the Latin for "bread and circuses", describing the cynical formula of the Roman emperors for keeping the masses content with ample food and entertainment.

"Bread and games were enough to hold the people according to the Roman emperors. The bread will wait," he added

"Misery does not wait and we will lose a year," said Véronique Fayet, the president of Secours Catholique, a charity that aims to fight poverty.

"The reason for the delay has nothing to do with Russia," said an Elysee spokesperson to Euronews. "Ongoing negotiations have delayed the time of disclosure," they added.

A disclosure date for the plan still hasn't been officially communicated by the Elysee.

Macron's strategy to fight against poverty is expected to set-up the automation of social assistance payments, make it mandatory for parents to send their children to daycare from the age of three, and include breakfast in all elementary and middle schools.