Reinforced in Bercy, Bruno Le Maire adopts his new habits as Minister of Energy

Nothing like a construction helmet and a fluorescent vest to embody the industrial power of France at work. At the head of a large Bercy, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, hastened to put on these precious accessories upon his arrival on the site of the Gravelines nuclear power plant (North), Monday January 15, to his first trip devoted to energy, which was added to his responsibilities thanks to the reshuffle.

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He who has been officially Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty for four days, being number two in the government in the protocol order after the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal. “ Will I also be entitled to my fluorescent vest? “, he asked casually as he entered the site. “We will do what is necessary,” promised Luc Rémont, the CEO of EDF appointed in September 2022, welcoming him.

“This move has a somewhat symbolic character,” underlined the minister, explaining that it is “ the first time ” that he visits a nuclear power plant “ as Minister of Energy. A subject he intends to follow “personally and directly” to ensure that the construction schedule for the new EPRs promised by Emmanuel Macron in Belfort, in 2022, is “ rigor held ». And this, even if it is likely that the day-to-day management of matters relating to energy will be entrusted to a delegate minister – the name of Roland Lescure, minister delegate for industry in the previous government, is already circulating.

“A massive need for carbon-free electricity”

Bruno Le Maire had been burning for months to tackle the issue of energy, housed in a dedicated ministry in 2022. Like most of his beginnings at Bercy, he tried, during previous reshuffles, to bring back this subject in the fold of his ministry, which had lost it in 2007. “Would it be absurd to link financial and environmental skills in a government, to give us the best chance of meeting this challenge? »already pleaded the Minister of the Economy in his book, An eternal sun (Albin Michel), published in November 2021. It took more than two years to convince the Elysée to go part of the way by entrusting it with the energy. And just three days to publicly display his new prerogatives.

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Monday, in Gravelines, near Dunkirk, the tenant of Bercy, in office for almost seven years, went to the site of the largest nuclear power plant in France and Europe. Symbol of the French nuclear renewal desired by Emmanuel Macron, this plant must accommodate a new pair of EPR 2 reactors by 2035.

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