German pressure-hose maker asks French politicians to stop using its name

A major German maker of pressure washers and other cleaning equipment on Tuesday urged French politicians to stop referring to it amid a hotly contested presidential contest, saying they were giving the group a bad name.

German pressure-hose maker asks French politicians to stop using its name
It's not the first time Karcher has unwillingly entered French politics. Photo: Eric Cabanis/AFP

Karcher, a family-run company whose distinctive yellow and black products are synonymous with pressure washers in France, demanded in a statement “an immediate halt of all uses of its trademark.”

The protest came after rightwing candidate Valérie Pécresse promised to clean up crime-hit suburbs and other urban areas, saying: “We need to get the Karcher out again.”

French word of the Day: Karcher

The German firm denounced an “inappropriate” use of its brand that implies a link with “violence and insecurity, even though… we defend solid civic values.”

It is not the first time Karcher has been dragged into the French political ring.

In 2005, Nicolas Sarkozy, at the time interior minister but with his eyes on the presidency, vowed to remove the “scum” of France’s gritty housing projects with a Karcher.

Two years later, far-right veteran Jean-Marie Le Pen castigated Sarkozy for wanting to “Karcherise” the projects, prompting a similar protest from the company.

“The Karcher trademark is not the “banner” of any political party,” it said Tuesday.

The two rounds of the French presidential election are set for April, with Emmanuel Macron widely expected to seek re-election, though he has not yet announced his candidacy.

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Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.