PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron appointed new cabinet members on Thursday, completing an unusually long government reshuffle in France.
Gabriel Attal, the new French prime minister, along with the highest-ranking ministers, were appointed nearly a month ago, but picks for lower-level cabinet positions had not yet been decided on.
In Thursday’s moves, Trade Minister Olivier Becht was replaced by former government spokesperson Frank Riester, and Secretary for European Affairs Laurence Boone was replaced by Jean-Noël Barrot, who has acted as digital minister since 2022.
Marc Fesneau stays on as agriculture minister. Fesneau, like Barrot, is a member of the Macron-allied Democratic Movement. Their continued participation in the government was made uncertain after the leader of their party sharply criticized Macron and his new government.
Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher was moved to a more junior role reporting to Fesneau. Industry Minister Roland Lescure takes over the energy portfolio under Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.
First-time cabinet members include Frédéric Valletoux, the former president of the French hospital federation, who comes in as junior health minister. Patrice Vergriete, the former housing minister, has landed the transport minister position, replacing Clément Beaune. Beaune was ousted after he voiced concerns about the government’s right-leaning immigration bill.
Controversial education minister is demoted
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who was initially picked to lead a broad ministry covering sports and education in charge of the 2024 Paris Olympics, will remain sports minister but has been removed from the education file.
During the one month she spent in that position, Oudéa-Castéra faced controversy about her children attending private schools and teachers’ unions called on her to resign. At the helm of education, she is replaced by Nicole Belloubet, a former justice minister and senior official in the French education system.
Macron has called education “the mother of all battles” and announced a series of measure meant to “restore authority” including a trial period for mandatory uniform in schools earlier this year.
Policies which Belloubet, who penned a 2016 research article calling plans to “reintroduce authority or blouses” in schools “nonsense,” will now have to carry.
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