A colorful government comprised of ministers from both ends of the political spectrum – that was the campaign promise of France’s new President Emmanuel Macron. But it appears he prefers to play it safe when it comes to the most important positions in his new government. Mr. Macron has appointed political veterans, well versed in diplomacy and known also across the country’s eastern border, in Germany.
He named his oldest friend and supporter, 69-year-old Gérard Collomb, interior minister; in times of terrorism, a key appointment. Jean-Yves Le Drian, who served as defense minister in the previous administration under François Hollande, and who is well known on the right and the left, will lead the foreign ministry. And the influential economics and finance ministry will be led by conservative lawmaker Bruno Le Maire.
Few French politicians know their way around Berlin as well as the 48-year-old Mr. Le Maire. He served as Nicolas Sarkozy’s European and agriculture minister. In both capacities, he cooperated closely with his German colleagues, always without the need for an interpreter.
Mr. Le Maire describes himself as a great fan of German literature and speaks German fluently. While his appearance makes the graduate of the elite French ENA school appear somewhat stiff, Mr. Le Maire has shown a fine sense of humor on several occasions.