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Cablegate: France's New, Green, Super Ministry to Be Headed by Former

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OO RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHFR #2065/01 1411105
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211105Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7425
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEBAAA/DOE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
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RUEHZN/EST COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
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RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 1725
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0427

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 002065

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR G, EUR, OES, EEB, INR
WHITE HOUSE FOR CEQ AND OSTP
DOE FOR OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY; INTERNATIONAL
USDOC FOR NOAA, OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR
TRANSPORTATION FOR OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
EPA FOR OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR, INTERNATIONAL
EMBASSIES FOR ESTH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG TPHY PINR EAIR FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE'S NEW, GREEN, SUPER MINISTRY TO BE HEADED BY FORMER
PM JUPPE

REF: A) PARIS 2027; B) PARIS 1871

PARIS 00002065 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Summary. Former Prime Minister Alain Juppe has been tapped
to become the Minister of State for a new, super Ministry for
Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Planning in the
May 17 government named by President Sarkozy. Juppe will rank
third, after President Sarkozy and new Prime Minister Fillon, in the
GOF. In his election bid, Nicolas Sarkozy had announced the
creation of a super ministry for sustainable development and he has
done so.

2. (SBU) During the Presidential campaign, Sarkozy called for a new
environmental tax system and had supported the idea of a carbon tax
on imports in the fight against greenhouse gas emissions. In his
May 6 acceptance speech, while providing assurances regarding
Franco-American cooperation, President Sarkozy urged the U.S. "to
take the lead in the fight (against climate change." Juppe's new
ministry, which will also be responsible for overseeing France's
energy sector, will likely be a major player in future U.S.-France
discussions on global climate change. Juppe's strong institutional
and international experience as a former prime and foreign affairs
minister will be needed to head this "audacious" ministry already
being described in the French media as an "institutional mammoth."
End summary.

---------------------------
Environmental Big Bang...
---------------------------

3. (SBU) Since its creation in 1971, the Environment Ministry has
been a marginal player. The establishment of a ministry
encompassing sustainable development, ecology, energy,
transportation, and regional planning constitutes a huge change in
the governmental system. During the presidential campaign, Nicolas
Sarkozy had signed the 'Ecological Pact' advanced by environmental
activist Nicholas Hulot. The concept of an environment ministry
with real clout over transportation, water and energy was key to the
Ecological Pact. (Note: Nicolas Hulot, a leading French green
campaigner and well-known presenter of a popular TV nature program,
managed to force environmental issues higher up the agenda in the
presidential campaign by proposing the Ecological Pact to all
presidential contenders. Opinion polls claimed he would win up to
10 percent of the vote were he to pursue a candidacy for president.
In the event, he decided not to run and instead to urge the other
candidates to subscribe to his environmental agenda. End note.)

4. (SBU) Sarkozy's decision to establish the new environment
ministry and Juppe's high profile appointment also reflect the
French electorate's interest in climate change and the new GOF
commitment to it. Despite the meager results of the Green Party in
the first round of the presidential elections, the environment has
become an increasingly important political issue in France and the
French electorate is constantly reminded of the dangers of an
out-of-control climate system. Certainly Sarkozy's reference to
climate change and his claim that the United States could do more in
this area, see ref B, found resonance with the French public. With
energy, transportation, ecology and sustainable development sectors
under his charge, Juppe will command a massive budget in the tens of
billions of euros range, a huge ministry by French standards.

---------------------------------
A seasoned politician at the helm
---------------------------------

5. (SBU) As the sole 'Minister of State' in the French government
Juppe will rank number three in the government following President
Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon. Dominique Bussereau,
former Agriculture Minister in the previous government, has been
appointed Secretary of State for Transportation under Juppe's
supervision. Juppe, 61, began his government career as a finance
inspector in 1972 following graduation from the prestigious
Institute of Political Studies and the National School of
Administration (ENA). Following a two-year stint at the Ministry of
Cooperation, he went to work for the newly elected mayor of Paris,

PARIS 00002065 002.2 OF 003


Jacques Chirac, under whom he held key financial and budgetary
posts. Juppe's ministerial level resume includes a stint as Junior
Minister for the Budget in the government of Jacques Chirac from
1986-88. Juppe served as Foreign Minister during the Balladur
government from 1993-95, and was then PM during 1995-97. Early in
his tenure, he proposed several social security and other reforms
that led to a series of crippling strikes by public sector
employees, eventually leading to reform withdrawals. Juppe also
served as president of two political parties. He was mayor of
Bordeaux from 1995-2004 and a deputy in the National Assembly from
1997-2004. He again resumed the mayoralty of Bordeaux in recent
months.

6. (SBU) Juppe's appointment to a senior government post represents
a near-miraculous political comeback for the man once seen as
Chirac's inevitable successor, but who fell from grace following his
conviction in an illegal political party funding scheme in 2004
linked to Chirac's previous mayoralty. (This forced him to resign
from both the National Assembly and as mayor of Bordeaux.) In 2005,
Juppe taught a seminar on globalization at Quebec's National School
of Administration. During his stay in North America, he became
increasingly interested in environmental advocacy. In fall 2006, he
actively prepared for the Conference for Global Ecological
Governance held in Paris in February 2007. A personal initiative of
President Chirac, the conference aimed to mobilize ministers,
scientists, company heads, NGO leaders, and public figures from
sixty countries to create a United Nations Environment Organization
(UNEO) to strengthen international environmental governance.


------------------------------
Sensitive priorities ahead...
------------------------------

7. (SBU) During the presidential campaign, Sarkozy's environmental
policy statements spoke of the need for pragmatism and results. He
made the ambitious commitment to conduct during the five year
presidential mandate, "the necessary actions to solve France's main
environmental problems within one generation, and two generations
for climate change." In his inaugural address on May 6, he also
pledged that action on global warming would be a priority of
France's diplomatic action in the world.

-------------------------
New environmental tax...
-------------------------

8. (SBU) 'Ecofiscality' reforms are to be at the center of the
President Sarkozy's environmental vision. He plans to double the
toll of environmental taxes, while lowering labor taxes
proportionally. Measures may include a reduced VAT for
environmentally friendly products and services and the
implementation of energy saving measures in buildings; the creation
of tax incentives for companies investing in promoting renewable
energy technologies (R&D efforts, training, development of "clean"
products); and increased tariff rates for water, electricity, and
waste collection to encourage virtuous behavior among French
households and enterprises. In the key transportation sector,
measures in store may include a complete tax exemption on biofuels
and the granting of free parking in urban areas for green cars. The
new GOF policy will encourage greater train and sea freight vs. road
freight. Further, a truck fee is to be introduced based on actual
GHG emissions of trucks traveling in France, including foreign
trucks. The estimated fiscal gain - 500 million to 1 billion euros
- would be devoted to improving alternative transportation means.
Sarkozy is also sympathetic to a carbon tax on imports from
countries that don't adhere to binding constraints on CO2 emissions,
an idea proposed by Prime Minister de Villepin in late 2006. (See
ref B, "President Sarkozy and the Climate Change Challenge.")

---------------------------------
A continued robust nuclear policy
---------------------------------


PARIS 00002065 003.2 OF 003


9. (SBU) Underscoring the environmental benefits of nuclear power,
Sarkozy has promised to encourage the modernization of nuclear
energy and know-how, while optimizing security and nuclear waste
production. The new president supports the third generation European
Pressurized Reaction (first EPR currently under construction in
Finland and soon to be constructed in Normandy). He also supports
research programs concerning fourth generation reactors while
calling for a significant increase of renewable energy in France's
energy mix.

10. (SBU) Comment: President Sarkozy is being true to his campaign
pledges in creating this new super environmental ministry. Some
analysts point to a gain in coherence with the incorporation of
regional planning, energy and transport issues, and are satisfied
with the appointment of a "heavy weight" to run this new super
ministry. Others question the recent "greening" of the new
"vice-prime minister" and wonder how such a huge ministry will ever
work. But without question, the new governmental structure will
provide Sarkozy and Juppe with much greater control over
environmental issues than heretofore. End Comment.

STAPLETON

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