Friday

1st Mar 2024

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

Get the EU news that really matters

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.

Opinion

Why are the banking lobby afraid of a digital euro?

Europeans deserve a digital euro that transcends the narrow interests of the banking lobby and embodies the promise of a fairer and more competitive monetary and financial landscape.

Opinion

Why are the banking lobby afraid of a digital euro?

Europeans deserve a digital euro that transcends the narrow interests of the banking lobby and embodies the promise of a fairer and more competitive monetary and financial landscape.

Latest News

  1. Why are the banking lobby afraid of a digital euro?
  2. Deepfake dystopia — Russia's disinformation in Spain and Italy
  3. Putin's nuclear riposte to Macron fails to impress EU diplomats
  4. EU won't yet commit funding UN agency in Gaza amid hunger
  5. EU Commission clears Poland's access to up to €137bn EU funds
  6. Right of Reply: The EU-ACP Samoa agreement
  7. The macabre saga of Navalny's corpse
  8. Belgium braces for Flemish far-right gains, deadlock looms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us