Much in demand during the campaign by Emmanuel Macron, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been more withdrawn for a few months. In private, he seems to wonder about this beginning of his five-year term.
It is an understatement to say that Emmanuel Macron cajoled Jean-Yves Le Drian during the campaign. The candidate of En Marche! no longer had words sweet enough to praise the record of service of one of the rare popular ministers of François Hollande, whose the rallying to Emmanuel Macron had been skillfully orchestrated. A few months later, relations have evolved. Breton, now at the head of the Quai d'Orsay, no longer receives as much attention. As if a distance had settled between the two men.
Anxious to break with the ways of doing things of his predecessor, the head of state repeated that he wanted to impose another type of relationship on the armies. The turbulent departure of General Pierre de Villiers from his position as Chief of the Defense Staff (CEMA), in reaction to the 850 million euros cut in the Defense budget, would have offended Le Drian. At the Hôtel de Brienne, on July 13, he did not linger after Emmanuel Macron's speech severely reframing the CEMA. "General de Villiers is a great soldier, of great integrity and exacting standards," soberly explained the Minister of Foreign Affairs later in an interview with echoes . I respect his decision. The president, without modifying his commitment, decided, for this year, in a direction different from that which his chief of staff wanted. He drew the consequences.”
For this silent man, these words could have been interpreted as a distancing from Elysian decisions. “What Jean-Yves built in five years, the president unraveled in five days. Le Drian is not the type to react in a hurry, to make a bang”, castigates a close friend of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, little known for his outbursts. “But a second episode like this shouldn't happen. That would be another story,” he warns.
“Time is complicated”
For a time, the rumor circulated that the minister could slam the door in September and return to Brittany. “It's totally unfounded, we retort in his office. Le Drian is completely invested, he feels a real usefulness in his new functions, it feeds him. He takes the time to immerse himself in the files. A man trusted by the minister is much more nuanced: “Jean-Yves is not about to leave. But the installation period is complicated. For him, at this stage, the balance sheet is 50/50. He feels a form of sadness about the method…” Like many of his government comrades, Le Drian has learned the extent of the budgetary efforts required of his services, when opening Le Parisien , July 11. In recent days, he was fighting like hell to get a more lenient ceiling letter from Bercy…
If Jean-Yves Le Drian did not put himself forward on July 25 during the meeting at La Celle-Saint-Cloud between the two Libyan enemy brothers Fayez al-Sarraj and General Haftar, of which he was nevertheless the main craftsman, this could change. At the start of the school year, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has already traveled to more than fifteen countries, will bring France's voice to the UN Security Council and will travel to Iraq. "He will express himself more," we promise. An exercise that will force him to force his nature. The Drian indeed flees the cameras and the microphones. Barely arrived at the Quai d'Orsay, he had also warned the executives of the house: “They say of me that I prefer to 'do' than 'say'. Well, it's true. I know that I am entering a ministry here where speaking is a form of action, and I will draw the consequences, since it will be a question of doing by saying. However, I do not want to be the man of the commentary on the international situation or the one who seeks the company of the media. It is not me."
Leaving the Hôtel de Brienne with a heavy heart, the socialist will soon be able to dive back into his five years at La Défense. According to our information, he is due to meet François Hollande next week.
Source: © Le Figaro Premium – The concerns of Jean-Yves Le Drian