As France struggles to maintain growth, the new minister of the economy raises high expectations.
Following the French presidential elections on May 7, Emmanuel Macron appointed Bruno Le Maire to be minister of the economy—a position Macron himself held for two years before starting his campaign.
Unlike other members of the Macron cabinet, Le Maire, 48, is well known to the French public. After a short diplomatic career, he was minister of agriculture from 2009 until 2012 and a candidate in the primaries of the right-wing party Les Republicans last year.
As France struggles to maintain growth, the new minister of the economy raises high expectations. Faced with a daunting 9.6% unemployment rate, the governing team’s number-one focus and the main challenge for Le Maire will be job creation.
The French also rely on him to manage public accounts in a way that will allow the new spending promised by Macron while bringing the budget deficit below 3% of GDP—which hasn’t happened since 2007. To boost France’s economy, Le Maire argues in favor of strong and vigorous European partnerships.
“France must uphold its public accounts and its commitments vis-à-vis its European partners,” Le Maire said during his first speech as minister of the economy. “In a family, you do not spend more money than you earn, and I hope France can do the same.”
Although financial actors are reluctant to comment on political nominations, expectations are also high in the banking industry.
In managing France’s economy, Le Maire will be working closely with Gérald Darmanin, another former member of the right wing, who was appointed minister of public action and accounts. But the duo might not last long. If Macron’s party, En Marche, does not win in the June legislative elections, the president might be forced to reshuffle the cabinet.