“He has earned his stripes as a statesman”: with the Covid crisis, Bruno Le Maire takes a date

He is one of the few personalities whose rating increases as the epidemic takes hold: Bruno Le Maire prances in 4th position among the most popular women and men politicians with 51% of good opinions in the latest Ifop barometer for Paris Match and Sud Radio. Omnipresent in crisis management, it is piloting its second confinement. And distributes billions of euros, with the guarantee fund, loans guaranteed by the State and a host of aid of all kinds. “Economically, it works, we expect a decline of only 12% in activity against 31% at the first confinement,” said people around him.

Who would have said? This liberal quickly accommodated the power of the state and the generosity of the checkbook. “The Minister of the Economy and Finance has a sense of plasticity, he is a Gaullist before being liberal and he is a baby Chirac who knows how to be flexible,” sums up one of his interlocutors.

“Crises are revelatory”

Since the July reshuffle, Bruno Le Maire has gained political weight. He made himself unavoidable. Although the Head of State has always been wary of his ambitions, he nevertheless granted him a substantial scope. Here he is at the head of all Bercy, overseeing no less than two deputy ministers and three secretaries of state. “Crises are revealing,” notes a Bercy adviser. They highlight the mediocrity of some and the skills of others. Bruno has earned his stripes as a statesman. “

“He always rode for him, squeals a government adviser. But what can he hope for today? Matignon or the Quai d’Orsay, in the event of re-election? In any case, it is dated. Like opening a life insurance policy. Because this enarque and normalien who multiplies the books knows how much a career can come to an end. He has come a long way. Humiliated in the primary of the right, he was hardly reelected in 2017 in his constituency of Eure. The defector lines up, precociously, under the banner of La République en Marche. At the start of the five-year term, he found himself far from the heart of the macronia. At the Ministry of the Economy, he is responsible for a law (“Pacte”) which will be repeatedly postponed.

The priority is elsewhere: reform of the Labor Code, overhaul of the SNCF, reform of the bac, etc. In Bercy, it is Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of the Budget, who shines and takes the light …

“More autonomous than before with Matignon”

If his relations with Edouard Philippe were complex, those with Jean Castex are downright complicated. “He is more autonomous than before with Matignon”, slips a minister. He no longer hesitates to publicly plead the cause of small traders, campaigning for an opening before December 1 if sanitary conditions allow. “Nothing would be worse than creating false hopes, by opening too early and then closing the shops,” explains the Prime Minister’s entourage, where, however, any tension with the tenant of Bercy is rejected. The two men have had dinner together twice since the start of the school year to restore the binder.

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With the Ministry of Health, too, there are sparks. “Bruno Le Maire is doing his normal job as Minister of the Economy, minimizes the president of the Economic Affairs Committee in the Assembly, Roland Lescure. Good decision-making always involves a contradictory exchange upstream. The next arbitrations promise new fireworks.

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