Catherine Colonna, minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Olivier Becht, minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and Foreign Nationals Abroad, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Laurence Boone, minister of State for Europe

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships

Catherine Colonna

Catherine Colonna
Catherine Colonna

MEAE / Judith Litvine

Catherine Colonna, minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Biography

Catherine Colonna was born on 16 April 1956 in Tours (Indre-et-Loire).
Catherine Colonna holds a master’s degree in Public Law (1977) and a postgraduate in Public Law (1978). She holds a degree from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) (Public Service Section, 1980) and is a graduate of the National School of Administration (ENA) (“Solidarité” year, 1981-1983).

She started her diplomatic career in 1983 at the French Embassy in Washington (1983-1986), then was responsible for European issues and economic law in the Legal Affairs Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1986-1988).

From 1988 to 1989, Catherine Colonna was an adviser in the Private Office of the Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Public Works and Housing, and from 1989 to 1990, a special assistant for European Affairs in the Policy Planning Centre at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

From 1990 to 1993, she was head of the Press Department in the Press, Information and Communication Directorate, then from 1993 to 1995, deputy spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

From 1995 to 2004, she was spokesperson for the Presidency of the Republic.

From 2004 to 2005, she was director-general of the French National Centre for Cinematography (CNC) and vice-president of the Cannes Film Festival.

From 2005 to 2007, Catherine Colonna was Minister Delegate for European Affairs.

From 2008 to 2010, she was Permanent Delegate of France to UNESCO.

From 2010 to 2014, she worked as a managing partner in the Paris Office of the Brunswick Group.

From 2014 to 2017, Catherine Colonna was French Ambassador to Italy and San Marino.

From 2017 to 2019, she was the Permanent Representative of France to UNESCO.

From September 2019 to May 2022, Catherine Colonna was French Ambassador to the United Kingdom before being appointed Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs on 20 May 2022.

Catherine Colonna is an Officier of the Légion d’Honneur, Officier of the Ordre du Mérite, and Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres. She was elevated to the rank of Ambassadrice de France in November 2020.

Olivier Becht

Olivier Becht
Olivier Becht

MEAE / Judith Litivine

Olivier Becht, minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and Foreign Nationals Abroad, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Biography

Born in 1976, Olivier Becht is a graduate of ENA, the National School of Public Administration (2002 Senghor class).

After ENA, he joined the administrative judiciary. In 2008, he left his position to dedicate himself to several local elected roles. He was Mayor of Rixheim until 2017, President Delegate of the Mulhouse Alsace Agglomeration and departmental councilor, and Vice-President of the Haut Rhin Departmental Council.

Concurrently, he became an associate professor of Law, Geopolitics and Public Finance at the University of Haute Alsace in September 2008.

In 2017, Olivier Becht was elected National Assembly Deputy of the 5th constituency of Haut Rhin. He then became a member of the National Defence and Armed Forces Committee.

In January 2020, he became President of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Parliamentary Assembly at the Council of Europe. Also in 2020, he created the Parliamentary Group “Agir Ensemble” at the National Assembly and became its President.

Re-elected Deputy in 2022, Oliver Becht was named Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and Foreign Nationals Abroad, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in July of the same year. He is still a member of the Rixheim Municipal Council and councillor of the Mulhouse Alsace Agglomeration while performing his duties as Minister Delegate.

Laurence Boone

Laurence Boone
Laurence Boone

Lisbon Council

Laurence Boone, minister of State for Europe

Biography

Laurence Boone is an economist with a PhD in Applied Econometrics from the London Business School (United Kingdom), an MSc in Econometrics and Macroeconomic Modelling from Reading University (United Kingdom); a Master’s Degree in Economics from Université Paris X Nanterre (France) and a postgraduate diploma (DEA) in Modelling and Quantitative Analysis from University Paris X Nanterre (France).

Laurence Boone has authored numerous articles and taught at the École Polytechnique, ENSAE (French National School of Statistics and Economic Administration), École Normale Supérieure (ENS) and Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs.

She has worked in economics research centres, including the French Government’s Centre for Prospective Studies and International Information (CEPII) and the OECD; she was Chief Economist at Barclays Capital France from 2004 to 2011, and Chief Economist and Director-General of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research from 2011 to 2014.

In 2014, the President of the French Republic appointed her as Sherpa and Special Adviser for multilateral and European economic and financial affairs.

In 2016, she was Chief Economist for AXA Group.

In 2018, she became Chief Economist of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). She directed research for the OECD’s Economics Department, represented the OECD for economic and financial affairs and took part alongside the Secretary General in meetings of the International Monetary and Financial Committee as well as G7 and G20 meetings.

In January 2022, Laurence Boone became Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, in addition to her position as Chief Economist. She oversaw the analysis and drafting of public policies in the areas of employment, labour and social affairs, education, skills and well-being, inclusion, sustainability and equal opportunities. She also directed research for the Inclusive Forum on Carbon Mitigation Approaches.

Laurence Boone was appointed Minister of State for Europe on 4 July 2022.

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou
Chrysoula Zacharopoulou

MEAE / Jonathan Sarago

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Biography

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou is a medical doctor.

Born in Sparta (Greece) in 1976, she holds both French and Greek nationalities and is a graduate of Sapienza University in Rome, as well as holding a PhD on endometriosis. She arrived in France in 2007, practicing as a gynaecological surgeon at Bégin Military Hospital.

As a defender of the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, she founded the “Info-Endométriose” association alongside actor Julie Gayet. In 2016, she launched the first national awareness campaign about this little-known disease, aimed at both health professionals and the public.

She was elected to the European Parliament in 2019 and became a Vice-Chair of its Committee on Development.

Ahead of the European Union-African Union Summit in Brussels, she was selected as the European Parliament’s rapporteur for the drafting of the new EU-Africa strategy, holding broad consultations in several African countries to produce tangible recommendations to build a lasting, inclusive partnership between the two continents.

As both an MEP and a doctor, she worked to ensure an inclusive international response to COVID-19. In April 2021, she was elected Co-Chair of the COVAX Facility Shareholders Council, which includes 65 countries, advocating for equitable access to vaccines and for stepping up vaccination campaigns for poor countries.

In the European Parliament, she also worked to defend the right of women and girls to make decisions governing their own bodies, to fight all forms of violence against them, and for an ambitious, feminist European foreign policy. She was appointed rapporteur for the third Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in External Relations (GAP III).

At the request of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, she produced a report and proposals in 2021 in order to improve diagnosis and recognition of endometriosis and fully commit to research into the disease. This work, produced in consultation with all stakeholders, formed the basis of the first national strategy to fight endometriosis, of which she spearheaded the drafting.

In May 2022, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou was appointed Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou was appointed a Chevalier in the National Order of Merit in 2017.

Last updated on: 6 September 2022