Arnaud Montebourg

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Arnaud Montebourg
Minister of the Economy, Industrial Renewal and Digital Affairs
In office
16 May 2012 – 25 August 2014
Prime MinisterJean-Marc Ayrault
Manuel Valls
Preceded byÉric Besson
Succeeded byEmmanuel Macron
Personal details
Born (1962-10-30) 30 October 1962 (age 56)
Clamecy, France
Political partySocialist Party
Domestic partnerAudrey Pulvar (2010–2012)
Alma materPantheon-Sorbonne University
Institute of Political Studies, Paris

Arnaud Montebourg (French pronunciation: ​[aʁ.no mɔ̃t.buʁ]; born 30 October 1962) is a French politician who served in the government of France as Minister of Industrial Renewal from May 2012 to August 2014.[1] Between April 2014 and August 2014, as a member of the short-lived First Valls Government, Montebourg held additional ministerial responsibilities whereby his overall brief encompassed the Economy, Industrial Renewal and Information Technology.[1] He was succeeded by former investment banker Emmanuel Macron.[2]

Previously he served as Deputy for the sixth district of Saône-et-Loire in the National Assembly of France from 1997 to 2012, and he was President of the General Council of Saône et Loire from 2008 to 2012. A member of the Socialist Party, Montebourg was a candidate in the Socialist presidential primary of 2011.

On 21 August 2016, Montebourg announced that he intended to seek the Socialist Party's nomination for the 2017 French presidential election. In the first round of the primary, held on 22 January, Montebourg was eliminated, once again coming in third place, with Benoît Hamon and Manuel Valls progressing to the runoff; Montebourg pledged his support for Hamon shortly thereafter.


Born at Clamecy in Nièvre, he is the son of Michel Montebourg, born in 1933, a civil servant employed in the Ministry of Economy and Finances, and Leïla Ould Cadi, born in 1939 in Oran, a professor of Algerian descent, who was born to a family of wālis (governors) from Hachem, northern Algeria.[3]

His 4th great-grand father, Ahmed Ould Cadi, agha (chieftain) of Frendah (Oran) was appointed Grand-Croix de la Légion d'honneur in 1867.[4][5][6]

Arnaud Montebourg became an attorney following university. Together with the notable attorney Thierry Levy, he defended Christian Didier, charged in the 1993 slaying of René Bousquet.[7] The former Vichy official had been indicted for war crimes and was soon to be tried. Didier was convicted in 1995 and received a 10-year sentence.[8]


Arnaud Montebourg during Ségolène Royal and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's meeting in Toulouse for the 2007 presidential election.

Together with Bastien François, a Professor of Political Science at the Paris I University, in 2001 Montebourg was the cofounder of the Convention pour la VI-ème République (C6R). This convention called for significant constitutional changes, leading to the founding of a "Sixth Republic".

Montebourg was one of the founding members of the political movement known as the Nouveau Parti Socialiste (New Socialist Party). He left to create a new movement within the Socialist Party called Rénover, Maintenant (Renewal, Now). He was one of the leading opponents of President Jacques Chirac's immunity from prosecution, especially concerning the corruption scandals in the Paris region. Montebourg also supported reporter Denis Robert for his role in revealing the illegal system of double-accounts maintained by Clearstream, a clearing-house based in Luxembourg.

He has been engaged in a campaign against the rules governing taxation of foreign nationals and banking secrecy of Switzerland.[9]

Montebourg was appointed as spokesman for Ségolène Royal's presidential campaign following his endorsement of her candidacy during the Socialist Party primary election of November 2006. On 18 January 2007, Royal suspended Montebourg from her campaign for one month the day after he said on a Canal+ talk show, "Ségolène Royal has only one fault, her partner."[10] He was referring to the contradictory statements on tax policy made by Royal's partner, François Hollande, a leader of the Socialist Party. Montebourg had offered his resignation, which Royal refused to accept.

In 2011, when Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from jail and flew back to France, Montebourg urged him to apologise for embarrassing the Socialist Party.[11]

Montebourg placed third in the Socialist Party's primary election for the 2012 presidential election, receiving about 17% of the votes. (François Hollande was first and Martine Aubry was second). After Hollande was elected President, Montebourg was appointed as Minister of Industrial Renewal in the government of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on 16 May 2012.[12]

He made a controversial statement that nuclear energy is "an industry of the future" despite the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Interior Minister Manuel Valls backed up Montebourg while the alliance of the Socialist Party with the Green Party might worsen if this statement confirms in practice a backtracking of the nuclear commitment of François Hollande and the Ayrault Cabinet. In November 2012, Arnaud Montebourg made further controversial statements about Lakshmi Mittal by declaring that "Mittal's lies since 2006 are overwhelming … he's never kept his word", urging him to leave the country: "We no longer want Mittal in France because they don't respect France".

Further on the topic of nuclear energy, he canceled in February 2013 the proposed EPR at the Penly Nuclear Power Plant, citing the capacity for electricity production and massive investments in renewable energy along with his confidence in the EPR as a competitive project in foreign countries.[13][14]

In 2014, contemporary with the proposed General Electric takeover of Alstom, Montebourg introduced a decree, nicknamed the "décret Alstom", or the "décret Montebourg", extending the French state's right of veto of foreign takeovers to assets in the fields of energy supply, water, transport, telecoms and public health.[15][16][17][18] Montebourg was quoted as saying the decree protected France's strategic interests and represented the end of laissez-faire economic policy.[19]

On 28 May 2014, Montebourg said that if the United Kingdom "were to vote to leave the EU, France will roll out the red carpet to British investors who will flee their country. They will all come to France because companies need Europe."[20] He has often been critical of austerity measures pushed by Germany. On 24 August 2014, he told a meeting: "France is the euro zone's second-biggest economy, the world's fifth-greatest power, and it does not intend to align itself, ladies and gentlemen, with the excessive obsessions of Germany's conservatives." [21]

Personal life[edit]

In February 2015 Montebourg saved several fellow diners as the New York City brasserie Balthazar from serious injury by single-handedly holding up a mirror which had fallen from the restaurant's ceiling until more people could intervene.[22] Afterwards he was lauded as a hero.[23]

Political career[edit]

Governmental function

Minister for Industrial Renewal : May 2012 – August 2014

Electoral mandates

National Assembly of France

Member of the National Assembly of France for Saône-et-Loire (6th constituency) : 1997–2012. Elected in 1997, re-elected in 2002, 2007.

General Council

President of the General Council of Saône-et-Loire : 2008–2012 (Resignation).

General councillor of Saône-et-Loire : Since 2008.

Life after politics[edit]

At the end of October 2014, Montebourg enrolled in the INSEAD graduate business school for a four-week course and sought a bursary for his studies.[24] On 30 December 2014, he announced his retirement from political life.[25] Between 16 and 26 February 2015, he was invited as a visiting professor of Economics at Princeton University.[26] On 19 March 2015, he was appointed vice president of the supervisory board of the furniture chain, Habitat.[27] On 26 March, the French-based consulting and business analyst company, Talan, announced that Montebourg had been given a place on its strategic policy committee.[28]

He announced on 21 August 2016 that he planned to stand again as a candidate for the Socialist Party's presidential nomination in the 2017 presidential election.[29]


  1. ^ a b « Comment Arnaud Montebourg a cultivé sa propre ligne économique », Le Monde, 11 juillet 2014, mis à jour le 25 août 2014
  2. ^
  3. ^ In an interview to an Algerian electronic newspaper in February 2010, Montebourg said, "My grandfather is Algerian. His name was Khermiche Ould Cadi. He is from a family of the Mascara plain, from Dombasle to be precise. "Mon grand père est Algérien. Il s'appelait Khermiche Ould Cadi. Il est issu d'une famille de la plaine de Mascara, de Dombasle, exactement.", in: Guemache, Lounes (25 February 2010). "La France n'a aucune raison de ne pas regarder en face ce qu'elle a été". Tout sur l'Algérie (TSA) (in French). Retrieved 18 August 2010.; the town named Dombasle during the colonization bears now the name of Hachem
  4. ^ Guy Benhamou, Arnaud Montebourg, l'ambition à tout prix, Stock, 2004, p.12
  5. ^ Biography of Ahmed Ould Cadi in Le livre d'or de l'Algérie, A. Challamel, 1890, pp. 499–507
  6. ^ Décret impérial 10499, 1860
  7. ^ MARY DEJEVSKY, "Killer's tale stirs ghosts of Vichy", The Independent (UK), 7 November 1995, 28 May 2012
  8. ^ Gary Borg, "Writer Sentenced In Vichy Slaying", Chicago Tribune, 14 November 1995. Retrieved 28 May 2012
  9. ^ "Swiss and French squabble over tax", Al Jazeera, 6 January 2007
  10. ^ "Royal rétablit l’ordre juste en suspendant Montebourg", Le Figaro, 18 January 2007 (in French).
  11. ^ "Strauss-Kahn regrets 'moral failing'" Archived 19 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Hindustan Times, 19 September 2011
  12. ^ Profile: Hollande's government for France, BBC News, 16 May 2012
  13. ^ "Pas d'EPR à la centrale de Penly" [No EPR at the Penly power plant]. BFM TV (in French). 2013-04-25. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  14. ^ "Montebourg enterre l'EPR de Penly" [Montebourg buries the Penly EPR]. (in French). 2013-03-03. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  15. ^ "Décret n° 2014-479 du 14 mai 2014 relatif aux investissements étrangers soumis à autorisation préalable", (in French), 16 May 2014
  16. ^ "Décret Alstom : une "mauvaise idée" pour Gattaz, la Commission européenne attentive", (in French), 15 May 2014
  17. ^ "France grabs for power over Alstom future with new takeover law (update 5)",, 15 May 2014
  18. ^ "Au fait, c'est quoi ce décret sur les " investissements stratégiques " ?", (in French), 16 May 2014
  19. ^ d'Allonnes, David Revault; Pietralunga, Cedric (15 May 2014), "Montebourg : " Le décret sur les entreprises, c'est la fin du laisser-faire "", (in French), Le choix que nous avons fait, avec le premier ministre, est un choix de patriotisme économique. Ces mesures de protection des intérêts stratégiques de la France sont une reconquête de notre puissance. C'est la fin du laisser-faire
  20. ^ "France to 'roll out red carpet' to British investors", The Telegraph, 27 May 2014.
  21. ^ "German austerity not the answer for France says economy minister". France News.Net. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  22. ^ "Heroic Former French Minister Saved Diners From Being Crushed by Balthazar's Falling Mirror". Eater NY. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  23. ^ "Arnaud Montebourg, ce "French superman" héros de l'accident du miroir géant". (in French). 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  24. ^ Marie-Pierre Haddad, "Arnaud Montebourg intègre l'école de commerce Insead et demande une bourse" [archive],, 31 October 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  25. ^ "Arnaud Montebourg se retire de la vie politique" [archive],, 30 December 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  26. ^ "Montebourg va donner des cours d'économie aux États-Unis" [archive],, 11 February 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  27. ^ Soizic Briand, Hervé Giaoui: "Pourquoi j'ai embauché Arnaud Montebourg" [archive], Challenges, 19 March 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  28. ^ "Montebourg. Après Habitat, il va conseiller la société Talan" [archive], sur, 26 March 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  29. ^ "Maverick Montebourg enters French presidential race", Agence France-Presse, 21 August 2016.

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