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Bruno Le Maire
Informal meeting of economic and financial affairs ministers (ECOFIN). Handshake, Eurogroup Toomas Tõniste and Bruno Le Maire (36840346850) (cropped).jpg
Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery
Assumed office
17 May 2017
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe
Jean Castex
Preceded by Michel Sapin
Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fishing
In office
23 June 2009 – 15 May 2012
Prime Minister François Fillon
Preceded by Michel Barnier
Succeeded by Stéphane Le Foll
Secretary of State for European Affairs
In office
18 December 2008 – 23 June 2009
Prime Minister François Fillon
Preceded by Jean-Pierre Jouyet
Succeeded by Pierre Lellouche
Member of the National Assembly
for Eure's 1st constituency
In office
20 June 2012 – 21 July 2017
Preceded by Guy Lefrand
Succeeded by Séverine Gipson
In office
20 June 2007 – 13 January 2009
Preceded by Françoise Charpentier
Succeeded by Guy Lefrand
Personal details
Born 15 April 1969 (1969-04-15) (age 52)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Nationality French
Political party Union for a Popular Movement (before 2015)
The Republicans (2015–2017)
La République En Marche! (2017–present)
Spouse(s)
Pauline Doussau de Bazignan (m. 1998)
Children 4
Education Lycée Louis-le-Grand
Alma mater École normale supérieure
Université Paris-Sorbonne
Sciences Po
École nationale d'administration

Bruno Le Maire (born 15 April 1969) is a French politician and former diplomat who has served as Minister of the Economy and Finance since 2017 under President Emmanuel Macron. A former member of The Republicans (LR), which he left in 2017 to join La République En Marche! (LREM), he was Secretary of State for European Affairs from 2008 to 2009 and Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fishing from 2009 to 2012 under President Nicolas Sarkozy. Le Maire is also a noted writer, with his book Des hommes d'Etat winning the 2008 Edgar Faure Prize.

Early life and education

Bruno Le Maire was born on 15 April 1969 in Neuilly-sur-Seine. He is the son of Maurice Le Maire, an executive at the oil company Total, and Viviane Fradin de Belâbre, a headmistress of private Catholic schools, mainly Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague. Le Maire was educated at Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague until he obtained his baccalauréat.

Le Maire began attending École normale supérieure in 1989 and Paris-Sorbonne University where he studied French literature. He graduated from Sciences Po in 1995 and was accepted into École nationale d'administration (ÉNA) in 1996.

Bruno Le Maire is married to painter Pauline Doussau de Bazignan who is the mother of his four sons. His wife was employed as his parliamentary assistant from 2007 to 2013.

Le Maire is fluent in French, English, Italian and German.

Career

Early beginnings

After leaving the ÉNA in 1998, Bruno Le Maire found a job in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. He eventually joined the team assisting the Secretary General of the Office of the President, Dominique de Villepin. He went on to a role of Foreign Affairs Advisor in the ministry in 2002, then onto an advisor role in the Interior ministry in 2004.

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Bruno Le Maire in 2007
Bruno le maire Debré (2307397943)
Le Maire talking with Jean-Louis Debré and his constituents in Évreux

Following several roles in Government including one working directly with Dominique de Villepin, Le Maire was chosen to be political advisor to the Prime Minister. In July 2006, Le Maire was appointed to the role of being Chief of Staff for the Prime Minister, replacing Pierre Mongin remaining in the role until Villepin's departure from the office of Prime Minister.

From 2007 to 2008, he was a member of the National Assembly of France, representing Eure's 1st constituency. After becoming a political advisor to the UMP, Le Maire was appointed to be Secretary of State in charge of European Affairs, replacing Jean-Pierre Jouyet, in December 2008, serving until 2009.

From 2008, Le Maire served as a political advisor for the Union for a Popular Movement. He also serves as a council member of Evreux.

Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fishing, 2009–2012

In June 2009, Le Maire became the new Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fishing in the government of François Fillon. During his tenure at the Ministry, he created a new framework to modernize French agriculture, food and fishing. He also hosted the G20 Agriculture summit in 2011, which resulted in the creation of AMIS (Agricultural Market Information System). The main objective of AMIS is to monitor the global agricultural market under a rotating presidency. An intervention Forum can be convoked if the presiding country judges it necessary.

Candidacies for leadership roles

Bruno Le Maire (8485947784)
Bruno Le Maire speaking at a public event in 2013
EPP Summit, Brussels; December 2014 (16023774116)
Le Maire in Brussels, 2014

In August 2012, Le Maire announced that he would be a candidate for the presidency of the Union for a Popular Movement, competing against former Prime Minister François Fillon, Secretary General Jean-François Copé and former Minister of Ecology Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet. He decided to develop a reformist line and to focus his campaign around four main axes:

  • Enhancing European economic integration
  • Strengthening French entrepreneurship and economy
  • Going back to the values of respect and authority in society
  • Renewing generations in political parties.

He failed however to obtain the necessary number of sponsors. In November 2014, Le Maire obtained 29.8% of votes against Nicolas Sarkozy in the election for the presidency of The Republicans (formerly UMP).

Le Maire was considered a serious challenger of the 2016 centre-right primary as the polls suggested he could be third-placed but got a poor result with 2.4%. He became LR candidate François Fillon’s international affairs spokesman, but resigned when Fillon was embroiled in a financial scandal during his campaign. Le Maire has since distanced himself from his party, calling for the right to work constructively with Macron to ensure the president's five years in office succeeds and prevents the far-right National Front making further electoral inroads.

On 17 May 2017, The Republicans Secretary-General Bernard Accoyer issued a statement that anyone from the party that was a member of the government was no longer a member, including Le Maire.

Minister of the Economy and Finance, 2017–present

Bruno Le Maire, Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Euclid Tsakalotos (36840388410)
Bruno Le Maire (left), Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem (centre) and Greek Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos (right), 2017
Informal meeting of economic and financial affairs ministers (ECOFIN). Arrivals Bruno Le Maire (37083548322)
Le Maire arriving at an Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting in September 2017

In May 2017, Le Maire was appointed by President Emmanuel Macron Minister of the Economy in the first Philippe government. In this capacity, he is supported by Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin. Shortly after being appointed as the Minister of the Economy, Le Maire became a member of La République En Marche! following conflicting reports that he was excluded from The Republicans party. Le Maire was able to win reelection in his constituency after beating National Front candidate, Fabienne Delacour. He was appointed Minister of the Economy and Finance in the second Philippe government on 19 June 2017.

By November 2017, Le Maire was reported to explore his options to succeed Jeroen Dijsselbloem as the next President of the Eurogroup; the role of which was eventually given to Mário Centeno of Portugal. In 2019, he led the European Union's selection process for a European candidate to succeed Christine Lagarde as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Other activities

European Union organisations

  • European Investment Bank (EIB), ex officio member of the Board of Governors
  • European Stability Mechanism (ESM), member of the Board of Governors

International organisations

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB), ex officio member of the Board of Governors
  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), ex officio member of the Board of Governors
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), ex officio member of the Board of Governors
  • Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), ex officio member of the Board of Governors
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF), ex officio member of the Board of Governors
  • Joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee, Member
  • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Bank Group, ex officio member of the Board of Governors
  • World Bank, ex officio member of the Board of Governors

Non-profit organisations

  • European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), member
  • Hertie School of Governance, member of the Board of Trustees
  • Long-Term Investors Club, member
  • Permanent Platform of Atomium Culture, member of the Advisory Board

Political positions

Domestic policy

During the conservative primaries in 2016, Le Maire shifted to the right, taking a tough stance on law and order and national identity issues. He called for the immediate expulsion of foreigners regarded as suspect by the security services, the deportation of foreign nationals who complete jail terms, and a curb of refugee numbers.

Economic policy

Le Maire has set out a free-market economic agenda, calling for the privatisation of France's labour offices, the end of subsidised jobs and capping of welfare benefits. Since taking office, he has steered Macron's drive to lighten the government touch on the economy and cut red-tape, and is overseeing a push to privatize airports and other state-controlled companies.

In 2016, however, Le Maire was quoted as saying the prospect of Britain leaving the European Union was a "fabulous opportunity for France" as it would remove the bloc's main champion of deregulation. He vowed on 9 July 2017 to put forward a plan to protect French companies from foreign takeovers.

On foreign trade, Le Maire expressed his opposition against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and also argued for a more protectionist trade policy in order to better defend against "dumping" by China.

In August 2017, Le Maire called upon EU nations to step up efforts to address how they tax the digital economy and stated that a "new momentum" was needed to get a fairer contribution from digital platforms, after a report that Airbnb paid less than €100,000 of taxes in France in 2016. He categorised low tax payments as "unacceptable".

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Le Maire and his German counterpart Olaf Scholz were credited as instrumental in overcoming Dutch and Italian resistance and securing the EU's 500 billion euros emergency deal to provide financial aid to workers, companies and governments struggling as a result of the virus.

In July 2020, Le Marie announced that the French government will cut taxes French companies have to pay in addition to normal corporate income tax by 20 million euros over the course of next two years.

Brexit

On Brexit itself, Le Maire caused controversy on 20 July 2017 when he told the French Parliament's economic affairs committee: "The United Kingdom has a remaining balance to pay to the EU budget of €100 billion" The view held by Le Maire has been shared by European Leaders since April 2017 with some of them believing the "divorce-bill" will lead the UK to owing the European Union £50 billion He also promised to set up a special court to handle English-law cases for financial contracts after Brexit during a conference in New York.

Speaking to the BBC in January 2019, Le Maire said the Brexit withdrawal agreement could not be renegotiated and it was up to the UK to find way through the impasse. He also said a no-deal Brexit would be "catastrophic" for the UK.

Foreign policy

On foreign policy, Le Maire is a traditional Gaullist, favouring French national independence. He has argued for a reinforced European defense policy to secure the bloc's exterior borders and fight terrorism, with more spending on the military by Germany in particular.

Personal life

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Bruno Le Maire and his family, 2007

Le Maire is married to Pauline Doussau de Bazignan. They have four children. The family has a holiday home of Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle.

In 2019, Le Maire received several letters containing death threats, including one with bullets enclosed.

Depiction in film

In the movie La Conquête (The Conquest), about Nicolas Sarkozy's career, he was played by Emmanuel Noblet.

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