Paris (AFP)

Former boss of Bercy, then European commissioner responsible for ensuring proper compliance with the common budgetary rules, Pierre Moscovici will take the head of the Court of Auditors, a position that has been vacant for six months, announced the Elysée on Saturday.

The presidency thus confirmed information from the Sunday newspaper.

Mr. Moscovici, 62, succeeds Didier Migaud, who left in January to chair the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP).

The former socialist minister, for his part, left his post as European Commissioner for Economic Affairs last fall, a function in which he regularly used the French government for his insufficient efforts in reducing public deficits.

A certain impatience reigned at the Court of Auditors pending this appointment, which will be recorded on Wednesday in the Council of Ministers.

"If this news were confirmed, I would obviously be very happy and honored to chair this institution that I know well since I started my professional life there now almost 36 years ago to the day," reacted Mr. Moscovici to of AFP.

It is indeed his original body, which he had integrated after the ENA in 1984.

Man with multiple political lives, claiming a social democratic positioning, Mr. Moscovici was Minister Delegate for European Affairs of Lionel Jospin between 1997 and 2002, then Minister of Economy and Finance of Jean-Marc Ayrault under the previous five-year term, between 2012 and 2014, before joining Brussels.

His name had circulated to occupy the presidency of the Court in recent months, like those of the president of the finance commission of the National Assembly Eric Woerth (LR) or that of the Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet.

- "independence" -

But the position of Mr. Moscovici had seemed shaken after unwelcome words for President Macron, reported in an investigation published by the newspaper Le Monde.

He described the macronist movement as "mainstream populist", the president being considered as an "extremely special personality" surrounded by personnel of "extraordinary mediocrity".

"We have very good relations (with Emmanuel Macron) but the criterion that must prevail for the presidency of the Court of Auditors is independence," said Moscovici on Saturday.

The Court of Auditors controls the use of public funds and sanctions breaches of their proper use. The magistrates of this independent court regularly publish detailed reports, sometimes very critical.

The Court is "more than ever useful", pleads Pierre Moscovici: "The job of the Court is the quality of public spending, its efficiency. More than ever in this post-Covid period in which we are entering it will be a job useful".

It must "be as open" and with "a European dimension", he adds.

"The court must be an institution of control, it is its role, it must also be more and more an institution of evaluation. I believe that it can be a council of finance, public policies extremely useful at the same time to the executive and to parliament, "he said.

Once in office, he will succeed the former socialist deputy Didier Migaud, who has remained in office for almost 10 years, who himself had succeeded the Gaullist Philippe Séguin in March 2010. Mr. Migaud had been appointed by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Born on September 16, 1957 to a psychologist father exiled from Romania and a Polish psychoanalyst mother, Pierre Moscovici flirted in his youth with a Trotskyist movement, the Revolutionary Communist League, before joining in 1984 the Socialist Party and his mentor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, swept away in 2011 by a sex scandal in New York.

© 2020 AFP