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Meet the new French government

PARIS — Emmanuel Macron has picked a fresh team but a lot of the key players look mighty familiar.

Following the choice last week of his new captain, Prime Minister Jean Castex, the French presidents office unveiled the rest of the line-up on Monday evening — with stalwarts from the last government still in central positions.

Rather than a wholesale revamp, Macron has opted for targeted reforms, such as beefing up the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Environment to drive economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Some two-thirds of the new Cabinet were part of the previous government. However, some important ministries have new bosses, notably those responsible for policing, justice and the environment.

Heres all you need to know about the key members of the team who will likely play out the remainder of Macrons first term until 2022.

Jean-Yves Le Drian | Sia Kambou/AFP via Getty Images

Europe and Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is Macrons left-leaning street cred. The French president is at pains to maintain his centrist brand after he appointed yet another conservative as prime minister. Le Drian has been a rather low-profile foreign minister with Macron dominating Frances foreign policy public positioning, but he remains an influential part of the team. He is at the heart of Frances controversial Libya policy and very close strategic partnerships with Middle Eastern and African allies such as the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. As defense minister under former President François Hollande, Le Drian built very close ties with these rulers. He did the same with several African leaders which Macron continues to build on, especially when it comes to the G5 Sahel anti-terrorism military framework. Le Drian has also weighed in on some domestic policy, especially when it comes to retaining jobs in his native Brittany.

Barbara Pompili | Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Barbara Pompili, minister for the ecological transition, is an ex-member of the green party Europe Ecologie-Les Verts who joined Macron a few weeks before his election. She takes over from Elisabeth Borne to spearhead a broad portfolio that includes energy, transport and environment files. She is also the governments number two in rank, an acknowledgment of the importance of environmental issues and an implicit nod to local elections results that gave the Greens a big boost.

Pompili until now was chairing the National Assemblys sustainable development committee. She represents the green-conscious left wing of Macrons party. She is a founding member of a recent alliance aimed at pushing for greener positions within the LREM group. As an MP, Pompili pushed for green strings to be attached to public bailout money.

As the new environment minister, she will be asked to deliver on Macrons promise to give more prominence to green issues as part of his governments recovery plan. A few days ago, before her nomination was known, Pompili said she wanted all ministries to adopt a “green roadmap” and even dreamt of a “green budget ministry” that would reform Frances taxation system to finance green investments.

Jean-Michel Blanquer | Pool photo by Christophe Archambault/EFE via EPA

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, a high-profile but divisive figure, has sometimes been at odds with the new prime minister, including on schools reopening after the lockdown.

Bruno Le Maire | Pool photo by Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images

Bruno Le Maire, minister for the economy, finance and recovery, stays on and is already into his fourth year in his powerful portfolio. In Europe, Le Maire has built a strong relationship with his German counterparts Peter Altmaier and Olaf Scholz, joining forces with Berlin on key dossiers such as pushing for a review of competition rules and the forming of European champions. Le Maire has also been on the front line to try to soften the economic blow dealt by the coronavirus crisis, announcing the countrys stimulus package and bailout plans. He will also have to prepare Frances broader recovery plan, expected in September. Eight weeks of lockdown have cost the French economy €120 billion, according to the French Observatory of Economic Conditions (OFCE).

Florence Parly | Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Minister Florence Parly was mentioned in political circles as a possible prime minister before Castex was nominated. She has served as defense minister since Sylvie Goulard stepped down in the early days of Macrons term. A former Socialist, she started her political career as budget adviser to then-Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. She is one of the few remaining ministers who come from the left of the political spectrum. Before joining Macrons government, she held executive positions in the private sector as deputy general director of Air France and director general of railway company SNCF. She also served on advisory boards of several French companies from the aircraft sector and elsewhere in industry.

Gérald Darmanin | Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images

Gérald Darmanin, the new interior minister, was one of Macrons best catches on the right side of French politics and gets a big promotion by replacing Christophe Castaner, heavily criticized for his record on law enforcement during the Yellow Jackets crisis and the governments response to recent protests against racism and police brutality. After serving as former President Nicolas Sarkozys campaign director during the conservative primary in 2017, Darmanin first joined Macron as budget minister in the previous government. Darmanin has shown a strong reformist drive, which proved successful when it came to changing the way taxes were collected in France or reducing the countrys budget deficit. Recently, the 37-year-old politician was reelected as mayor of Tourcoing, in Northern France, and made clear he had his eye set for a higher position in Macrons government. Judicial troubles might stand in the way of his political ambitions: Two women accused him of sexual misconduct. Charges were dropped in one case, with the second being reopened recently. Darmanin denied both accusations.

Elisabeth Borne | Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Minister for Labor, Jobs and Insertion Elisabeth Borne moves from the ecological transition portfolio to a new one. The 59-year-old minister is described as a pragmatic civil servant. She served as a regional prefect, but also advised former socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin on transport and led the Cabinet of former socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal. After being criticized for her handling of a sensitive reform for the national railway company SNCF, opening it up to competition — which led to months of strikes — Borne will now be asked to protect workers jobs in the aftermath of the crisis, but also to deliver on a controversial file, namely the countrys pension system reform — which was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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