France’s new face in Brussels: Philippe Léglise-Costa

Philippe Costa - centre- is France's new face in Brussels. [French embassy to the Netherlands/Flickr]

Following the retirement of Pierre Sellal, Philippe Léglise-Costa is taking on the mantle of France’s permanent representative in Brussels. EURACTIV France reports.

France’s ambassador in Brussels Pierre Sellal will be replaced on 20 November by Philippe Léglise-Costa, the French Presidency revealed on 2 November.

Currently, he is the head of the General Secretary for European Affairs (SGAE), the little-known but strategic French body that channels all legislative dossiers from the ministries to Brussels and vice-versa.

Hollande and Valls divide EU affairs dossiers

France has abolished the position of Advisor for European Affairs and reshuffled its agencies dealing with European affairs, moving some EU competences from the President’s office to the government. EURACTIV France reports

The diplomat knows Brussels inside and out, due to his time spent as a deputy permanent representative for about 15 years.

He attended dozens of “Coreper” sessions – where member states discuss the most delicate and technical legislative dossiers through their permanent representatives.

An engineer by training, Léglise-Costa joined the French ministry of foreign affairs in 1992, after having been an adviser to  socialist Hubert Védrine when the latter was a diplomatic adviser to President François Mitterand.

He was François Hollande’s “Europe guy”, rubbing elbows with Emmanuel Macron for two years, while heading the SGAE.

Sellal retires after choosing Brussels as his last posting, in a career which brought him to work in the most prestigious embassies.

“Anyone else would have chosen Rome or Washington as his last diplomatic post – he preferred Brussel’s rain and the diplomatic action at the heart of Europe,” a diplomatic source said.

At the end of October, he realised a video on Brussels’ institutions – the first (and last) of its kind:

Subscribe to our newsletters