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France’s UK ambassador promoted to foreign minister in Macron reshuffle

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron has appointed Ambassador to the U.K. Catherine Colonna as his new foreign affairs and Europe minister as part of a broader government reshuffle following his reelection.

The Elysée unveiled the full list of ministers Friday, poaching figures from the right and including some new faces such as historian Pap Ndiaye as education minister.

In a surprise move, Macron has picked career diplomat Catherine Colonna to replace veteran Socialist Jean-Yves Le Drian. Colonna currently serves as the French ambassador to the U.K. and was at the heart of managing difficult post-Brexit relations between London and Paris.

Macron’s trusted protégé Clément Beaune, who had been very combative in defending France’s position during the Brexit negotiations, remains Europe minister under Colonna.

Several key figures, such as Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who boasts a good track record on shoring up the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, have kept their portfolios.

Industry Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher has been reassigned as energy transition minister and Amélie de Montchalin becomes environment minister.

Sébastien Lecornu, one of Macron’s most faithful lieutenants, becomes defense minister. The centrist Marc Fesneau has been appointed agriculture minister.

A major casualty of the reshuffle, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has been sacked. The conservative politician was a heavyweight during Macron’s first mandate but fell out of favor over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in schools.

The reshuffle follows the French president’s appointment of Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne as prime minister on Monday.

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