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Elisabeth Borne appointed France's new prime minister

17-5-2022 |

Twenty-two days after the re-election of Emmanuel Macron to the presidency of the Republic, the head of state decided to appoint Elisabeth Borne as prime minister, replacing Jean Castex. Mr. Castex submitted his resignation from the government on Monday afternoon. He will give his place at Matignon, the prime minister's residence, to the woman who was until now the labor minister.

The current labor minister and former president of RATP has been a member of the government under President Emmanuel Macron since 2017. She is the second woman in France to hold the position of prime minister.

Elisabeth Borne
Photo: Eric Desson/JDD/Sipa

Ms. Borne was first appointed as the minister of transport in 2017, before becoming minister of ecological and inclusive transition in 2019. She became the head of her most senior ministry, that of labor, employment and economic inclusion, in July 2020. With this appointment, she is starting a new chapter in her career in administration and politics, which began when she entered the cabinet of Lionel Jospin, then Minister of National Education, as a technical adviser in 1991.

Ms. Borne is the first woman appointed French prime minister since Edith Cresson (May 1991 - April 1992).

Coming from the left, Ms. Borne was chief of staff for Ségolène Royal when she was the Minister of Environment, during François Hollande's presidency. Ms. Borne has never held an elective office, which is an important point of difference with her two predecessors, Edouard Philippe and Jean Castex.

But this was not considered an insurmountable obstacle by Mr. Macron, who was looking for a prime minister "connected to social issues, environmental issues and production issues." Ms. Borne covered these three areas during her work in the government, which began after her departure from the presidency of the state-owned public transport company RATP, which she had headed since 2015.

Former President of RATP and SCNF executive

During the first part of Mr. Macron's five-year term, this general engineer of bridges and roads, who is a graduate of Polytechnique (one of France's grandes écoles), led the reform of the SNCF (France's national state-owned railway company), which had been the subject of long battles with the railway unions. Ms. Borne knew the dossier intimately as a former director of strategy of the rail group and former prefect of the Poitou-Charentes region and Vienne (2013 and 2014), where she had to manage, among other things, the issue of small rail lines.

At the same time, Ms. Borne also participated in the construction of the Mobility Orientation Law, intended to replace the law of orientation of domestic transport of 1982 and which was passed on her watch during her time at the Ministry of Environment. In the position for nearly a year, Ms. Borne was able to test the ministry's limited political and budgetary room for maneuver while concluding three legislative projects: the energy-climate law, adopted in November 2019, the law against waste and the February 2020 law on the circular economy.

Appointed to the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Inclusion after the ebb of the first wave of Covid-19 contaminations in July 2020, Ms. Borne had to manage, among other things, the massive implementation of telecommuting during lockdowns and then the gradual return to the company of employees. She also had to completely reform unemployment insurance, the development of apprenticeships, the youth employment contract and the personal training account, despite the many difficulties involved.

In early May, Ms. Borne announced she was going to run in the June legislative elections in Calvados. She has since been nominated there under the banner of Ensemble!, which brings together several parties linked to Mr. Macron's presidential majority.

Source: Le Monde