• Elisabeth Borne, 61, was appointed Prime Minister on Monday.

  • As Emmanuel Macron had promised between the two towers, she will be in charge of ecological planning.

    In other words, to ensure that all public policies are aligned with France's climate objectives.

  • On paper, Elisabeth Borne has the perfect profile, she who was Minister of Transport and Ecological Transition.

    But will it have the political courage to impose ecological imperatives in arbitrations?

    NGOs doubt it.

"We need to act faster and stronger."

Monday at the end of the day, in the courtyard of the Hôtel de Matignon, Elisabeth Borne did not fail, in her first words as Prime Minister, to mention the climatic and ecological challenge that awaits her.

A way of remembering that this file should be at the top of the pile during this second five-year term of Emmanuel Macron, "which will be ecological or will not be", slipped the latter, in Marseille, in the between-two-towers.

The president wants to make his Prime Minister a guarantor in this area, by entrusting her with “ecological planning”.

This amounts to considering that the environment is no longer just the business of the Ministry of Ecological Transition, but of the whole government.

A good mastery of subjects and an openness to dialogue

On paper, Elisabeth Borne has the CV for this job.

She was chief of staff to Ségolène Royal when she was at the Environment, from 2014 to 2015. Then Minister of Transport, between May 2017 and July 2019, under the supervision of the Ministers of Ecological Transition Nicolas Hulot then François de Rugy .

Before accessing this position herself upon the resignation of the latter.

She will remain a little less than a year at the head of the Roquelaure hotel, until July 2020, before being appointed Minister of Labour, Employment and Integration in the government of Jean Castex.

A position she had been occupying for the past few days.

In short, Elisabeth Borne masters the key issues of ecological transition and their challenges.

A good point granted by Anne Bringault, program coordinator at the Climate Action Network (RAC).

“She has the particular advantage of knowing European issues well,” she points out.

This is essential at a time when "Fit for 55" is being negotiated, the major European plan which should make it possible to accelerate our energy transition and achieve our new climate objectives [minus 55% greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse in 2030 compared to the level of 1990].

For this crucial moment, a Prime Minister was needed immediately operational.


A disappointing visit to the Hotel Roquelaure?

Having the knowledge is one thing, but "having the right vision of what a low-carbon society should be is another", points out Jean-François Julliard, director general of Greenpeace France, disappointed by the passage of Elisabeth Borne to the Hotel de Roquelaure and hardly enthusiastic about his appointment to Matignon.

“She knows the palm oil file well, which was talked about a lot at the time.

This did not prevent him from supporting Total and the La Mède refinery (Bouches-du-Rhône) in the postponement of the tax exemption on palm oil [one of the raw materials imported by the energy company to produce biofuels]”, he illustrates.

He lists other grievances: "the Disappointing Mobility Orientation Law, the Climate-Energy Law,

where it pushed back by ten years the deadline granted to the reduction of nuclear power in the energy mix, or even its (vain) commitment to “implement” the 146 measures of the Citizens’ Climate Convention”.

“Elisabeth Borne did not shine with strong and ambitious positions,” he tackles.

Anne Bringault and Arnaud Schwartz, president of the National Federation for the Environment (FNE), nevertheless qualify the picture by recognizing its qualities.

His knowledge of the files, first.

"She's a great worker, she's organized and strict," insists Arnaud Schwartz.

“He is someone with whom it is pleasant to discuss, adds Anne Bringault.

It is open to dialogue with all stakeholders in a case, including NGOs.

A point that Arnaud Schwartz also underlines.

However, the RAC joins Jean-François Julliard: its passage to the Ecological Transition “has not been marked by memorable progress.

“As much as she likes to get to the bottom of the files, we have not seen her go to the front to defend positions where the ministry was not expected from the rest of the government and from Emmanuel Macron”, continues Anne Bringault.

Not a first.

"Many environment ministers have regretted, after the fact, not having had the levers to carry out the policy they would have liked", continues the RAC program manager.

“No more excuses not to act”

Now Prime Minister, "Elisabeth Borne will no longer be able to take refuge behind the excuse 'Matignon has decided against us'", points out Jean-François Julliard.

A way of saying that “she has no more excuses for not acting”.

Will it nevertheless have the levers, and will it be able to seize them, to ensure that all policies contribute to France's climate objectives or, at least, do not go in the opposite direction?

Cécile Duflot, ex-Minister of Housing and now director of Oxfam France, expressed some doubts on the airwaves of

France Info

this Tuesday morning.

“She is a senior civil servant, someone who is loyal, there to serve a political project,” she continues.

If Cécile Duflot does not necessarily make it a fault, she underlines that this posture has limits when one occupies a political office like Prime Minister, which imposes to arbitrate.

Arnaud Schwartz remains convinced that Elisabeth Borne has the right profile.

It comes down to her knowledge of the files and her openness to dialogue, which could be serious assets to Matignon and in the relationship she will forge with Emmanuel Macron.

“If the latter has a sincere desire to place ecology at the very top of the priorities, we can have the hope that Elisabeth Borne will be able to explain the issues to him and to place with him the cursor of the compromise with the ambition as high as possible.

“It is on the real ecological convictions of Emmanuel Macron that Jean-François Julliard allows himself to doubt.

If he asks only to be surprised, "we still come out of five years of promises, speeches, casting effects too", he points out, having the impression of having lived an episode more Monday night.

" The "

Will we be fixed very quickly?

Be that as it may, "there will very quickly be major decisions to be made, we will then see whether or not the arbitrations lean in favor of the environment", assures Amandine Lebreton, advocacy officer at the Foundation for Nature and man (FNH).

She thinks in particular of the “national strategic plan” (PSN), by which France must decline the new common agricultural policy (CAP) 2023-2027.

“A first copy was rejected by Brussels, which severely criticized it.

The new version is expected in the coming weeks,” she recalls.


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  • Planet

  • Energetic transition

  • Environment

  • Elisabeth Borne

  • Government

  • Emmanuel Macron