France’s new Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has set a new tone for the country’s foreign policy: this week the country’s Foreign Ministry has been renamed the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. French geopolitical analyst Emmanuel Dupuy told Sputnik that it is signaling that European affairs will now prevail in France’s foreign policy.
On Wednesday, France’s new Prime Minister Edouard Philippe named a total of 22 ministers in his new government.
Philippe also announced that his government would rename the country’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.French media were quick to suggest that this insistence on the importance of Europe is “no doubt a response to the anti-European campaign run by Macron’s presidential rival Marine Le Pen, among others.”
Sputnik France discussed the issue with Emmanuel Dupuy, professor of geopolitics and president of the Institute for European Perspective and Security (IPSE), who said that it clearly demonstrates the reorientation of French foreign policy towards the European affairs.
To head this new ministry, Philippe has appointed Jean-Yves Le Drian, the former Defense Minister during Hollande’s entire five-year term (2012-2017).
Commenting on the appointment, Emmanuel Dupuy noted that the head of the ministry will now be named Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs. This means that he will primarily be the minister of Europe and only secondarily, the minister of foreign affairs.
This clearly demonstrates the strategy, ambitions and top priorities of the new government, he said.
“We see that the members of the European Parliament play key roles in this government. Two female members of the European Parliament have been appointed to the country’s high posts,” he told Sputnik.
The geopolitical analyst also suggested that the main role in the new government will be played by three ministers, namely Jean-Yves Le Drian, Junior Minister for Europe Marielle De Sarnez and the country’s Armed Forces Minister (former defense minister) Sylvie Goulard.
“Sylvie Goulard has a good knowledge of the European Affairs. Hence her top priorities will be the European Affairs, on the one hand, and cooperation with Germany, on the other, as it was thanks to her that Emmanuel Macron went first to meet with Angela Merkel. The European defense, some would call it the measures aimed at closer cooperation in the military capabilities, military industry and defense diplomacy, will also be among her top priorities,” Dupuy told Sputnik.
The geopolitical analyst however noted that Sylvie Goulard is yet to clarify her position on such issues as Daesh, NATO and Russia. The new minister will have to define the country’s position on Daesh, especially after the US and Russia have demonstrated their desire to cooperate in Syria and on other international issues.
“Until she proves otherwise, I do not believe that Sylvie Goulard has a strong position regarding NATO and Russia,” he said.
The main challenge for the new minister, who is also the member of the European Parliament, will be to defend France’s position at the next NATO summit in Brussles where the US’ and French presidents will meet each other for the first time, Dupuy concluded.