France’s newly appointed health minister in favour of ‘strengthening’ Europe’s health systems

Brigitte Bourguignon is now France's new Minister for Health and Prevention in Elisabeth Borne's government. [IAN LANGSDON/EPA]

Brigitte Bourguignon was appointed France’s new Minister for Health and Prevention in Elisabeth Borne’s government on Friday (20 May). Olivier Véran, who she is succeeding, was appointed Minister Delegate in charge of Relations with Parliament and Democratic Life.

Bourguignon, a traditionally left-wing politician, was formerly Minister Delegate in charge of Autonomy at the Ministry of Health and Solidarity in the previous government of Jean Castex.

Earlier this year, Bourguignon presided over the response to France’s recent retirement home scandal, in which a home care group was accused of mistreatment of elderly patients. Following the allegations, alongside Véran, she announced a large-scale plan for a governmental overview of France’s 7,500 retirement homes. The minister expressed her “anger” and “indignation” at the time.

Already elected as a Socialist MP for Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in 2012, Ms Bourguignon was re-elected under the banner of Macron’s party En Marche in 2017, before being appointed president of the National Assembly’s social affairs committee.

She has now become the new Minister of Health, according to announcements by the Elysée palace’s general secretary Alexis Kohler, who unveiled the formation of the new government on Friday afternoon (20 May).

New French government named: continuity with some surprises

French President Emmanuel Macron appointed his new government on Friday (20 May), following the appointment of Elisabeth Borne as Prime Minister on Monday. His personnel choices signalled continuity with previous governments.

In a tweet following a meeting with her European counterparts on 18 January, Bourguinion stated: “In Europe, strengthening the resilience of our health systems is a major challenge of the #EUFP2022. Our cooperation continues, to keep innovating for the health of Europeans”.

While France is currently leading the French presidency of the EU (FPEU), the new Health Minister has until 30 June to put forward her chosen issues at the European level.

Right-wing MP Damien Abad will take over from Sophie Cluzel as Minister for Solidarity, Autonomy and Disability.

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

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