Unsurprisingly, Jean-Jacques Bridey, the LREM parliamentarian from Val-de-Marne, was unanimously elected chairman of the French National Assembly’s National Defence and Armed Forces Commission. Bridey, one of the rare survivors of the XIVth legislature, succeeds Patricia Adam (PS), eliminated in the first round of the legislative elections.
This seasoned politician, a member of the Defence Commission since June 2012, was one of the first to join the Macron camp, helping to develop the future president’s defence programme. A former member of the Economic Affairs and European Affairs Commissions, formerly an alternate member of the French delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Bridey has the experience to deal with the sensitive issues that await him.
In addition to Bridey, only a handful of MPs survived the latest legislative elections, such as Gwendael Rouillard (LREM), who was also nominated for the chairmanship of the Commission, Philippe Folliot (LREM), and the Republicans Mariane Dubois and Charles de la Verpillère.
Also on the defence commission are Séverine Gipson, deputy for the current Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire. The latter recently announced his intention to amputate the defence budget by a little more than €2.6bn, a position that will not fail to cause angst amongst the upper echelons of the military. It also includes Richard Ferrand, chairman of the LREM parliamentary group, Louis Alliot, vice-president of the National Front, and Carole Bureau-Bonnard (LREM), vice-president of the National Assembly, proof of the growing interest of the political class for defence matters.
With only a handful of deputies re-elected out of the 68 seats available for this Commission, the inexperience of its members will have to rely on the personality and experience of the few veterans to teach them quickly. These 68 deputies (26% of whom are women) will soon have to reassure worried military staff and industrialists at a time when hot topics are accumulating, such as the modernisation of nuclear deterrence, the acceleration of the Scorpion programme or the rise of the defence budget.