Sylvie Goulard Named Minister for French Armed Forces

Agencies Photo: AP19.05.2017 Europe
Sylvie Goulard Named Minister for French Armed Forces

Sylvie Goulard Named Minister for French Armed Forces

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French President Emmanuel Macron’s first government of 18 Cabinet Ministers includes a mix of experienced politicians and newcomers from civil society. Half of the appointees announced Wednesday are men and half are women.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, whom Macron named on Monday, will lead the government, at least until the parliamentary elections scheduled for June.

Former Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was named Foreign Minister. Le Drian was France’s Defense Minister during the five-year term of former President Francois Hollande. He supervised French military operations in Mali, Central African Republic, Iraq and Syria.

Le Drian vowed to promote the country’s “key role” in the international community, adding that he sees continuity between his previous position as Head of the French Defense Ministry and his new diplomatic job.

France will be the European Union’s only member with nuclear weapons and a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council once Britain leaves the bloc.

Sylvie Goulard will lead the Defense Ministry, thus becoming the second woman in the history of the Vth Republic to be handed the keys of this Ministry, 10 years almost to the day after Michèle Alliot-Marie.

Born on 6 December 1964 in Marseille, Goulard started her professional career at the French Foreign Affairs Ministry, where she was a member of the team that negotiated the consequences of Germany’s reunification in 1989-1990.

She also worked as a political adviser to Italian politician Romano Prodi when he was president of the European Commission from 2001 to 2004. She has been a member of the European Parliament since 2009.

Goulard graduated with a law degree from the Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III and studied at both Sciences Po (Paris) and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA). Between 2005 and 2009 she taught at the College of Europe in Bruges. She speaks fluent English, German and Italian.

Gerard Collomb was appointed Interior Minister. Since 2001, he has been Mayor of Lyon - France’s third biggest city.

Collomb said his first duties will be to protect the French people, to fight terrorism and to prevent some youth in the country from falling “in the grip” of the Islamic State group.

In his first speech in the Ministry’s courtyard Wednesday, Collomb said Europe and France especially “are being targeted by terrorists,” noting that the terrorist threat comes from abroad, but is also “rooted in our territory.”

Collomb said his “constant efforts” will be to prevent some French youth from “falling into radicalization” and from perpetrating “the odious attacks we have known in recent years.”

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