French President Emmanuel Macron is considering convening a joint session of parliament in the palace of Versailles to address deputies and senators, government spokesman Christophe Castaner said on Sunday. Speaking on LCI television, Castaner said he could not confirm or deny that July 3 was the date when the National Assembly lower house and the Senate upper house could hold a rare joint Congress at Versailles – something promised by Macron during his election campaign.
“I do not know the date. (But) it is important that he sets a direction,” he said. Macron’s year-old Republic on the Move party (LREM) won a huge parliamentary majority on June 18 that boasts scores of lawmakers never before elected – unprecedented in France and central to his promise to clean up French politics. Convening a Congress at Versailles, the palace of France’s former monarchy, is a procedure generally reserved for constitutional revisions and major presidential speeches.
Former conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed a Congress at the 17th-century palace in 2009, at the height of the global financial and banking crisis. Sarkozy’s successor, Francois Hollande, convened a Congress in November 2015 after militant Islamist attacks, declaring France “is at war”. French parliamentary deputies usually meet in the National Assembly and senators in the Senate, both in Paris.