Sunday

2nd Oct 2022

Valls picks investment banker as France's new economy minister

  • Appointing ex-merchant banker Emanuel Macron as his second finance economy minister was French PM Manuel Valls' most eye-catching move on Tuesday (Photo: Moyan Brenn)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls appointed Emmanuel Macron, a 36-year-old former merchant banker, as his economy minister on Tuesday (26 August), as he unveiled his new government

Valls, who was himself appointed by President Francois Hollande in March, dissolved his administration on Monday after the left-wing economy minister Arnaud Montebourg criticised the government’s economic policies and accused Germany of having an “obsession” with budgetary austerity in two speeches over the weekend.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"France is a free country which shouldn't be aligning itself with the obsessions of the German right," Montebourg told a Socialist party rally on Sunday.

Macron, who was Hollande's top economic adviser until June and is regarded as being closer to French business, replaces Montebourg. The appointment is a clear signal that Hollande will not cede to the wishes of his party's left by u-turning on plans to reduce corporate tax rates and public spending and will stick to his deficit reduction pledges.

Finance minister Michel Sapin remains in post and has been charged with overseeing public accounts. Sapin has repeatedly promised that France will bring its budget deficit in line with EU rules even if it is likely to miss its 2015 target to bring it down to 3 percent of output.

Meanwhile, culture minister Aurelie Filippetti and education minister Benoit Hamon were other figures from the Socialist party’s left-wing to be left out of the new government as Hollande and Valls try to assert the dominance of the party’s moderate wing.

Dismal figures for the eurozone this month revealed that the bloc recorded zero growth between April and June, dealing a blow to hopes that 2014 would deliver a steady, albeit slow, recovery.

France flat-lined for the second quarter in a row, while Germany’s economy contracted on fears about the EU’s ongoing sanctions battle with Russia, and Italy fell back into recession.

Meanwhile, the euro fell to its lowest rate against the US dollar, at $1.315, in eleven months on Tuesday amid mounting speculation that the European Central Bank will soon announce a large-scale bond-buying programme – known as quantitative easing – in a bid to stimulate more economic activity. German authorities are also expected to report tomorrow that their inflation rates have stalled.

Hollande invokes constitution to force through economic reform bill

French president Francois Hollande faced down a mass rebellion by his governing Socialist party on Tuesday, invoking a seldom-used procedure in the French constitution to force through a controversial bill aimed at liberalising the French economy.

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  2. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  3. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  4. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  5. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  6. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  7. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  8. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks
  2. Putin declares holy war on Western 'satanism'
  3. Two elections and 'Macron's club' in focus Next WEEK
  4. EU agrees windfall energy firm tax — but split on gas-price cap
  5. Ukrainian chess prodigy: 'We are not going to resign ... anywhere'
  6. Going Down Under — EU needs to finish trade deal with Australia
  7. MEPs worry Russian disinfo weakens support for Ukraine
  8. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us