It seems as if the French government has said a lot without saying anything. This comes after President Emmanuel Macron decided not to comment on an open letter by 50 specialists encouraging the French to participate in Dry January.
The popular social fixture encourages participants not to drink alcohol for the entire month of January. It started in the United Kingdom and has soon become somewhat of a fashionable thing to do worldwide.
Now, the French doctors are hoping this open letter in the Le Monde newspaper will encourage the same in France.
The BBC reports that several French ministers have indeed distanced themselves from the call for a teetotal month, saying they preferred to encourage moderation rather than an outright booze-fast.
Many believe this might have something to do with the French wine industry. The French wine industry used to be the biggest in the world, but after a poor 2023 season, it has suffered a lot.
France’s agriculture minister, Marc Fesneau, said there was a massive decline in French alcohol consumption over the last 50 years. Dry January will not help with this massive 70% decline.
“I don’t think the French need to be given lessons by anyone. People are fed up with being told what to eat, what to drink, and how to travel. There’s a way of life that also deserves respect.”
When former health minister Aurelien Rousseau was asked whether he would be joining Dry January last year, he said: “I’d be very suspicious if I heard the government was telling people how to live their lives for a month.”
Image credit: The Times