French cabinet reshuffle: Who will embody France’s energy policy in Brussels?

(EurActiv, 23 Jan 2024) President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to scrap Agnès Pannier-Runacher’s Energy Transition Ministry leaves open the question of who will drive France’s energy policy in Brussels.

“Energy is the great economic challenge of the 21st century,” said Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who now holds the energy portfolio, on Tuesday (16 January).

For political observers in Paris, Le Maire’s expanded portfolio is a sign that France is entering the next phase of its energy policy – focused on re-industrialisation and building on Pannier-Runacher’s achievements on the policy front, both in Paris and Brussels.

In Paris, the former minister defended two bills to speed up the development of renewable energy and nuclear power. In Brussels, she managed to persuade those critical of nuclear.

Achievements include the recognition of hydrogen made from nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source, the integration of existing nuclear plants into the reform of the EU’s electricity market and, most recently, the launch of a debate on shifting Europe’s renewable energy targets towards low-carbon energy targets for 2040.

“Working in Brussels was really the best part,” confessed one of her former advisers, adding that Pannier-Runacher still had much to accomplish.

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EurActiv, 23 Jan 2024: French cabinet reshuffle: Who will embody France’s energy policy in Brussels?