French president Emmanuel Macron has claimed that Paris 2024 is not doing enough to benefit the French capital’s poorest areas.
“At the moment, we are not meeting the goals we should have for the parts of the Paris region that are most affected by this big event,” he was quoted as saying by Agence France Presse.
“It is clear that the region, and above all Seine-Saint-Denis because it will be most affected by several big new venues, is not getting a fair return.
“So we are going to work on it because for now, I’m not happy.”
Seine-Saint Denis is a deprived area that had the highest crime rate in metropolitan France in 2018. It will be the site of the Athletes’ Village for Paris 2024 and is home to the Stade de France, which will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and athletics at the event.
Only two new venues need to be built for the Paris edition of the Games in compliance with the IOC’s Agenda 2020 which advocates reusing pre-existing facilities to keep the cost of hosting the down. These include a desperately-needed new aquatics centre in Seine-Saint Denis and the Bercy Arena II which will now be built in port de la Chapelle, not far from the Stade de France, and not in Bercy, as was originally planned.
Macron played an important role in securing the Games for the French capital last year, dialling up the bid’s message of cultural inclusivity as a counterpoint to Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies, which hindered Los Angeles’ bid. However, the French president’s image has been damaged in recent months by the yellow vest movement in the country.