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Europe at heart of Emmanuel Macron's Left-Right government with gender parity and female defence minister

Category: Gender policy 

France's new French president Emmanuel Macronhas picked his government with a mixture of Left and Right wingers, gender parity, and a strong emphasis on Europe.

Mr Macron, 39, had delayed announcing the ministers due to last-minute negotiations and checks that none had tax issues.

He had announced his intention to have a slimmed-down government of 15 ministers. In the event, some 22 names were called, half men, half women and including figures from civil society. A member of the Macron entourage said that 16 were "full ministers", two deputy ministers and four secretaries of state.

"This is another promise kept by the president," said the source.

"This is a government of renewal that only has two figures who were ministers in the previous administration," she added. "It translates an unprecedented reconstruction of our political life."

After naming conservative Edouard Philippe, 46, a member of The Republicans party, as his prime minister on Monday, Mr Macron picked Gerard Collomb, 69, veteran Socialist mayor of Lyon, as interior minister and government number two.

Sylvie Goulard, 52, a centrist MEP, a Germany and Italian speaker and a connaissseur of the inner workings of the EU, was named armed forces minister.

She takes over from Jean-Yves Le Drian, 69, outgoing Socialist defence minister and a close friend of ex-President Francois Hollande. He was named minister of "Europe and foreign affairs" in a new title underlining the importance of Europe for Mr Macron.


Mr Le Drian will also be supported on the Europe portfolio by junior minister Marielle De Sarnez, 66, a centrist European expert who has been a member of the European parliament since 1999.


"This shows Europe is the priority," a French diplomatic source told Reuters, referring to the fact that the foreign ministry portfolio does not usually officially include Europe.

Mr Macron picked Bruno Le Maire, 48, a pro-European, German-speaking Right-winger from The Republicans, as his economy minister.

Mr Le Maire is for a free-market economic agenda, calling for the privatisation of France's labour offices, the end of subsidised jobs and capping of welfare benefits.


"He is very thorough, knows his dossiers extremely well, and will be a big asset for European issues," a French diplomat who has worked with him in the past, told Reuters.

Gérald Darmanin, 34, another Right-winger, is in charge of the ministry of "action and public accounts".

Francois Bayrou, 66, centrist leader of Modem, was named  justice minister, and will be in charge of pushing through Mr Macron's first law on "moralising" political life.

Nicolas Hulot, 62, a star ecologist and former TV presenter seen as the Gallic David Attenborough, was named "ecological transition" minister, after refusing to join the cabinets of several previous administrations.

While gender parity was respected, commentators pointed out that only one of the top five roles - defence - went to a woman with the 10 other female appointees taking culture, labour, sports and health, among other portfolios.

A publisher became culture minister, just one of several political newcomers Mr Macron had promised to bring into his team, along with Mr Hulot.

Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel, 45 and from the French island of Guadeloupe was named sports minister.

One of the toughest tasks will fall on Muriel Pénicaud, 62, former human ressources director of the Danone group, as labour minister. Mr Macron intends to push through a series of decrees in the coming months to loosen French labour laws, which unions have already warned they will oppose.


Tags: Macron government gender parity

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