The French government underwent a slight reshuffle.
The change occurred not because the time had come to refreshen the government but because some ministers rebelled against PM Manuel Valls and President Hollande. Simply put, they refused the fiscal discipline that France was forced to impose on its citizens.
The reshuffle was light as many of the most known ministers remained in their positions, for instance: Finance Minister Michel Sapin, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll, and Ecology and Energy Minister Ségolène Royal.
The new additions were: Emmanuel Macron (Minister of Economy), Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (Minister of Education), Fleur Pellerin (Minister of Culture), François Rebsamen (Minister of Work and Employment), Sylvia Pinel (Minister of Housing and Rural Affairs) and others (click here to see who).
The rebel yell - of former ministers of economy (Arnaud Montebourg), of education (Benoît Hamon) and of culture (Aurélie Filippetti) - is a perfect example of bad timing to speak or even act.
Mr Montebourg is not without reason when he says that France should not be "pushed around" by Germany; but surely he would agree that France has a chronic deficit problem that must be tackled and a high unemployment rates that need to be addressed (as it involves not only sustainable economic policies but also reviewing labour and social policies). Arnaud Montebourg claims that the government should focus on growth policies, but when there is a huge hole in the bathtub how can someone focus on filling it up without fixing the hole first?
The nonsensical fit, makes us wonder whether Monsieur Montebourg either wanted to avoid being the one socialist that would have to make significant modifications to a démodé system that has been so consuetudinary of the French State (e.g. the 30-hour/week workload; state dominion of major sectors of the economy; high number of semi-public companies [that absorb money like a sponge, ask Portugal], re-distribution of wealth policies and welfare programmes) or he is trying to run for the leadership of the Socialist Party...eyeing a future role as the French prime minister.
PM Valls sits on the right aisle of the socialist party (that is, he acknowledges the importance of capitalism in a free society, while remaining concerned with those who cannot make ends meet, no matter how hard they work); therefore, although the French Premier strives for economic growth, he knows that the fiscal bleeding must be stopped first.
At the same time that France restores fiscal discipline, its government will have to touch a very contentious subject - reform of the Labour Code - inasmuch as the time has come to face the stark reality "rigid [labour] regulations appear (..) to have hurt competitiveness and increased unemployment" (source: here).
(NB: we have read that, within the French Muslim community, the unemployment rate reaches 40%. We wonder if all those individuals are receiving benefits and if they are, then why doesn't France follow the Portuguese example and put those unemployed people to clean the country's streets and forests, for instance? Those who receive must give back to the community. Besides, by applying this formula, they would have less time to dedicate themselves to radicalism/terrorism).
Government re-shuffling is perfectly normal; my only commentary regarding the now-over crisis is that it exposed the growing tension towards Germany. In a time when Russia is threatening the European Union, through Ukraine, is it wise to nurture tensions between France and Germany (the roots of many conflicts in the Old World and the raison d'être of the European Union)?