President Emmanuel Macron of France convened a new, smaller cabinet for the first time on Friday, a day after a government reshuffle that brought in a handful of new ministers — including one poached from the right and a Europe-focused foreign minister — but that left most key positions untouched.
“A united government,” Mr. Macron said before camera crews were ushered out ahead of the cabinet meeting, which was held in a noticeably smaller room than usual. “Let’s get to work.”
Many of the 14 ministers around the table were longtime pillars of Mr. Macron’s government. Gérald Darmanin, Mr. Macron’s tough-talking interior minister; Bruno Le Maire, his perennial economy minister; and Sébastien Lecornu, the defense minister — all former members of the mainstream conservative party— have remained in place. Éric Dupond-Moretti, the justice minister, who was recently cleared in an abuse-of-power case, stayed as well.
Mr. Macron signaled a focus on Europe by appointing Stéphane Séjourné, a top ally of the French leader in the European Parliament, as foreign minister. A vote for European Parliament seats scheduled in June is expected to be a hard battle against the French far right, given that the National Rally came ahead in vote percentages in the last election in 2019.
The new cabinet was announced on Thursday evening just days after Mr. Macron appointed Gabriel Attal, 34, as the new prime minister, an attempt to reinvigorate his second term after a year of successful, but politically bruising, pension and immigration overhauls.
The new cabinet includes fewer of the little-known technocrats or members of civil society that Mr. Macron has sometimes favored in the past. Instead, it includes more veteran politicians, many of them on the right, continuing a yearslong shift in that direction by Mr. Macron.
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