Home / World

Hollande orders Cabinet shake-up

By Agence France-Presse in Paris | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-26 06:54

Second reshuffle in 5 months shows divide among France's ruling party

France was thrown into fresh crisis on Monday after President Francois Hollande told his prime minister to form a new government, following a much-criticized show of in sub-ordination by the country's firebrand economy minister.

It is the second reshuffle in just five months as the ruling Socialists struggle to pull France out of the economic doldrums and the government is divided by infighting between left-leaning party members and those like Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who veers more to the center.

A presidency statement said Valls had offered the resignation of his government - a formality that allows him to form a new Cabinet - and the new lineup would be announced on Tuesday.

"The head of state asked him (Valls) to form a team consistent with the direction he has himself set for the country," it said.

The presidency did not give any reasons, but the move came after Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg bad-mouthed France's economic direction and the austerity policies of European powerhouse Germany, angering Valls.

"You have to raise your voice. Germany is trapped in an austerity policy that it imposed across Europe, "Montebourg said in an interview published Saturday in the newspaper Le Monde.

Then in a speech on Sunday, Montebourg said he had asked Hollande and Valls for a "major shift" in economic policy.

Hollande orders Cabinet shake-up

"Given the seriousness of the economic situation, an economy minister has a duty to offer alternative solutions," he said.

Outspoken criticism

Valls, who has consistently said he will not tolerate any form of insubordination among his ministers, has not yet reacted in person.

But his entourage said on Sunday that Montebourg had crossed a line, and while it is as yet unclear whether he will remain in the government, it appears increasingly unlikely.

The 51-year-old left-wing minister is no stranger to controversy, having made headlines in the past for his outspoken criticism of French ally Germany, which he has blamed for factory closures in France.

He was promoted to his current position in April in a government shake-up after the Socialist party suffered a drubbing at local elections, and has had to cozy up to Finance Minister Michel Sap in, who supports the very austerity measures that Montebourg disagrees with.

As industrial renewal minister before his promotion, he had grabbed headlines by labeling the head of tire giant Titan an "extremist" after the CEO criticized the French workforce as lazy.

He also became embroiled in a very public fight with steelmaker Arcelor Mittal over the closure of a plant.

The latest reshuffle comes at a time when France is mired in stubbornly slow economic recovery, with high unemployment.

The central bank warned this month that Hollande had no hope of reaching his target of 1.0 percent growth for 2014.

The French economy has been stagnant for six months, and the government was forced to halve its growth forecast to 0.5 percent for this year.

Both Hollande and Valls say the answer is their so-called Responsibility Pact, which offers businesses tax breaks of about 40 billion euros ($53 billion) in exchange for a pledge by companies to create 500,000 jobs over three years.

(China Daily 08/26/2014 page12)

Today's Top News

Editor's picks

Most Viewed

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349