Emmanuel Macron had made it a priority: the reform of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was disputed by diplomats, was recorded in a published decree Official Newspaper, 17.4. With the removal of two historic institutions from the Quai d’Orsay, the head of state continues the overhaul of the senior civil service initiated during his five-year tenure. However, in the midst of the campaign for the second round of the presidential elections, the project drew severe criticism from the opposition.
On Twitter, Marine Le Pen denounced the reform that had been looming for months. “A few days before the end of his mandate, Emmanuel Macron published the decree abolishing our diplomatic corps. He wants to replace impartial civil servants with nepotism.”pitied the National Rally candidate who promises to restore if elected “Diplomatic status based on merit and national interest”.
“France sees the destruction of its diplomatic network after several centuries. The second worldwide. Promo friends can be named. great sadness”responded Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France insoumise), MP for Bouches-du-Rhône. “This reform is a mistake”judged Michel Barnier (LR), former Foreign Minister, “Efficient and influential diplomacy indeed requires professional diplomats”.
Tap a bigger pool
The project concerns two bodies at the heart of the work of French diplomacy: that of the Foreign Affairs Advisors and that of the Ministers Plenipotentiary, “extinguished” from 2023. These senior civil servants will then be appointed to a new appointment “Board of State Administrators”where the leaders previously trained by the National School of Administration (ENA), which has been replaced by the National Institute of the Civil Service since January 2022, will be gathered.
In the architects’ eyes, the reform aims to boost careers by drawing from a larger pool of candidates to achieve this “From status logic to employment logic”, to summarize the philosophy of Amélie de Montchalin, Minister for Public Services. Nevertheless, “It causes a deep wound among Ministry agents and serious concerns”Judge Olivier Da Silva, a permanent CFDT Quai d’Orsay, strongly opposed to the project, which was launched against the initial opinion of the head of diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
In this future pool of personnel, diplomats will stand alongside prefects, sub-prefects or inspectors general of finance. In all, about 800 senior State Department officials are affected, out of 1,800 Category A executives. Selective oriental competition. They can remain ‘dying out’ in their old body if they wish, but are encouraged to move to the new inter-ministerial body with little visibility as they fear continuing their careers. A development that went down badly with those interested, even if the famous competition in the East is maintained.
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