President Macron’s speech to the Council of Ministers had one key theme: continuity and efficiency. He sees his government on course.
It is a sign of weakness that the President has replaced his government. That’s because French presidents usually do when they’re under political pressure and want to regain some maneuvering room.
Usually the President addresses the people directly. Or he answers questions from journalists in a television interview. Broadcasting his speech from the Council of Ministers is new.
The education minister was transferred
But the composition of the group also speaks to the developmental trends within the government. Some names illustrate this:
Bob Ndiaye, whom President Macron appointed as education minister a year ago, was fired: a renowned historian with roots in Senegal and an expert on minority issues. He wanted to make France’s schools more diverse—a move that immediately mobilized right-wing opposition against him. Bob Ndiaye was the target of their criticism.
Ndia has little political experience. This proved to be an additional shortcoming of the Ministry of Education. It is the ministry with the largest budget, nicknamed Mammoth, and considered one of the largest and most difficult construction sites in French politics. President Macron already promised improvements to the education system in the spring and renewed this today.
A broken campaign promise
Gabriel Atal is now responsible for the complex educational apparatus. He proved himself as a government spokesman and budget minister. He was already one of Emmanuel Macron’s closest advisers. He is 34 years old and unlike his predecessor has been a professional politician for many years.
As a candidate, Emmanuel Macron promised six years ago to bring representatives of society, not just politicians, into government. You won’t see much of this in Elizabeth Bourne’s new cabinet: most of them are experienced professional politicians or experienced administrators.
Macron clings to Bourne
Bourne said: The media also speculated about the Prime Minister’s departure. He did not accomplish the task of broadening the political base for Emmanuel Macron. But other Prime Ministers will fail because of it.
The Bourne government can also point to some successes. For example, this week Parliament passed a judicial reform that has been debated for years. President Macron’s decision for continuity and effectiveness can also be read as referring to the head of government – at least until the next government reshuffle.
SRF correspondent for France and Maghreb countries
Daniel Voll has been Radio SRF’s France correspondent in Paris since 2018. The Maghreb countries are also part of his reporting area. Previously, he worked as EU Correspondent and Foreign Editor of SRF.
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