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France loses its youthful minister of culture

Aurélie Filippetti departs along with other members of the cabinet in crisis provoked by government austerity

France’s political crisis, which erupted over the weekend, has claimed its youthful minister of culture, Aurélie Filippetti, who published an open letter of resignation today, 25 August.

On Sunday, France’s Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, presented his cabinet’s resignation. He had acted swiftly after a split emerged in public when the economics minister indirectly criticised France’s policy of austerity in a speech and in the press.

In her letter, which she addressed to Valls and the French President, François Hollande, Filippetti referred to cuts in the culture ministry budget since she was promoted in June 2012, saying: “I held on with the same loyalty when I had to endure an unprecedented drop in the budget of the ministry of culture… for two consecutive years.” She said that she would not be seeking another ministerial appointment in the new cabinet that Valls is now creating.

Filippetti was in charge of culture in Hollande’s election campaign. In 2007 she became deputy of the Moselle region in northeast France, the location of the Centre Pompidou-Metz. A miner’s daughter and published author, there were high hopes when, aged 39, she became the minister of culture and communication two years ago. But fire fighting problems such as replacing the head of the Musée Picasso in Paris and getting the institution reopened, which is finally due to happen in October, meant that she had little time to make good her promise to increase decentralisation and widen access to culture in the regions.

Update: Filippetti's replacement is another youthful politican, the Korean-born Fleur Pellerin, whose previous ministerial responsibility covered the digital economy and smaller businesses. An orphan, she was found abandoned in Seoul as a baby and adpoted by a French family.

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Comments

26 Aug 14
22:24 CET

VERONIQUE WIESINGER, PARIS

Please note that in France, no one applies to a ministerial appointment or "seeks" it. Ms Filippetti's unfortunate legacy of 2 years is not reduced to firing the head of the Picasso museum and replacing her by a man, something she did for other important positions while claiming to support women.

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