Sylvie Goulard

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Sylvie Goulard
Hearing of Sylvie Goulard (France) , candidate commissioner for internal market (48832160786) (cropped).jpg
Deputy Governor of the Bank of France
Assumed office
17 January 2018
GovernorFrançois Villeroy de Galhau
Preceded byDenis Beau
Minister of the Armed Forces
In office
17 May 2017 – 21 June 2017
Prime MinisterÉdouard Philippe
Preceded byJean-Yves Le Drian
Succeeded byFlorence Parly
Member of the European Parliament
In office
7 June 2009 – 17 May 2017
ConstituencyWest France (2009–2014)
South-East France (2014–2017)
Personal details
Born (1964-12-06) 6 December 1964 (age 56)
Marseille, France
Political partyDemocratic Movement (2007–2017)
La République En Marche! (2017–present)
Spouse(s)Guillaume Goulard
EducationAix-Marseille University
Sciences Po
École nationale d'administration

Sylvie Goulard (born 6 December 1964) is a French politician and civil servant who served as Minister of the Armed Forces from 17 May to 21 June 2017 in the First Philippe government. She decided to quit along with other Democratic Movement (MoDem) ministers, before the MoDem was investigated on potentially fictitious employment of parliamentary assistants. On 17 January 2018, Goulard was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of France, succeeding Denis Beau.[1]

A native of Marseille, Goulard served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for West France from 2009 until 2014. She was reelected in the 2014 election for South-East France. As an MEP she was a member of the Committee for Economic and Monetary Affairs and an ALDE group coordinator, as well as a substitute member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development between 2009 and 2014 and Committee on Constitutional Affairs between 2014 and 2017. In 2010 she participated in the creation of the Euro-federalist interparliamentarian Spinelli Group. She served as a foreign affairs advisor; Goulard also is a former president of the Mouvement européen-France, the oldest pluralist association defending the European ideal. In 2017, Goulard joined the newly formed En Marche! party.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Goulard graduated with a law degree from the Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III and studied at both Sciences Po (Paris) and the Ecole nationale d'administration (ENA). Between 2005 and 2009 she taught at the College of Europe in Bruges. She speaks fluent English, German and Italian.


As a political advisor to Romano Prodi when he was president of the European Commission, from 2001 to 2004, Goulard followed the work of the convention presided by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing which was primarily made up of members of national parliaments, who had been charged by the European Council to draft a European constitution.

Goulard's work focuses on the necessity of pursuing European integration whilst also inviting increased public debate about European questions. Europe's citizens must become more engaged with its development in the future. They need to be informed and active: and to achieve this cultural and professional exchanges and learning foreign languages are essential.

At the end of 2006 Goulard was elected president of the Mouvement Européen-France (ME-F), succeeding Pierre Moscovici, who had also been a candidate. She was re-elected as president in December 2008. Le Mouvement Européen-France regularly organises meetings, conferences and debates which aim are to enable a dialogue between political figures, experts and the general public.

Member of the European Parliament, 2009—2017[edit]

Goulard was first elected Member of the European Parliament in the 2009 elections. Throughout her time in parliament, she served on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. In 2009 became a substitute member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and in 2014, she became a substitute member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs. In that capacity, she served as rapporteur on budgetary surveillance in the Eurozone.

In addition to her committee assignments, Goulard served as chairwoman of the European Parliament Intergroup on "Extreme Poverty and Human Rights".

On 15 September 2010, Goulard supported the new initiative Spinelli Group, which was founded to reinvigorate the strive for federalisation of the European Union (EU). Other prominent supporters are: Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Guy Verhofstadt, Isabelle Durand as well as Jacques Delors, Joschka Fischer, Andrew Duff and Elmar Brok.

On the national level, François Bayrou included Goulard in his shadow cabinet in 2010; in this capacity, Goulard served as opposition counterpart to Ministry of European Affairs Laurent Wauquiez.[3]

In November 2016, Goulard officially announced her candidacy for the office of President of the European Parliament;[4] the post eventually went to Antonio Tajani.

During her time in parliament, Goulard continued to write regularly in a wide range of both French (Le Monde, La Croix, Libération) and international (Süddeutsche Zeitung, Financial Times particularly) newspapers.

Minister of the Armed Forces, 2017[edit]

Goulard was appointed by President Emmanuel Macron Minister of the Armed Forces on 17 May, in the First Government of Edouard Philippe. In this capacity, she ranked above her immediate predecessor and foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in the government hierarchy. She was only the second woman to head the ministry, which reverted to its pre-1974 name of Ministry of the Armed Forces.[5] Goulard was replaced by Florence Parly, a former executive and budget official, in the 21 June government reshuffle.[6] She had stepped down after an inquiry over alleged misuse of payments for assistants in the European Parliament[7] was opened on 20 June 2017.[8]

Deputy Governor of the Bank of France, 2018–present[edit]

On 17 January 2018, Goulard was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of France, succeeding Denis Beau.[9] In 2020, she was also appointed by the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe to serve as a member of the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, chaired by Mario Monti.[10]

Nomination to be France's European Commissioner[edit]

On 28 August 2019 President Macron nominated Goulard[11] to be the French Commissioner in the von der Leyen Commission and lead the newly-established Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space[12]

After two "tense" hearings before the EP Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), her nomination was rejected on 10 October 2019, with 82 votes against, 32 in favour and 1 abstention.[13][14][15][16] The rejection was linked to her inability to explain her effective work for the Berggruen Institute, and the fact that she explained that she would not resign even if she was formally indicted[17]

The EPP group's MEPs showed strong animosity against the Goulard's nomination, related to ongoing investigations by the European Anti-Fraud Office. The group tweeted a message (later deleted) reading "Guys, we are going to kill her in the vote later but do not say until then" and attributed to Pedro López de Pablo, the director of communications of the group.[18][19][20]

Many medias concluded that this was a blow for Emmanuel Macron ambitions in Europe. Le Monde titled that this, after the previous Nathalie Loiseau failed leadership in the European parliament, was another consequence of the arrogance of the French President in Europe, and that the European parliament gave him a lesson about morality.[21] On 21 October 2019, two dozen academics from across Europe, including Robert Badinter, Silvia Costa, David Capitant, Etienne Davignon, Jacques de Larosière, Clemens Fuest, Jean-Paul Gauzès, Charles Grant, Miguel Poiares Maduro, Paolo Magri, Giampiero Massolo, Riccardo Perissich, Etienne Pflimlin, Jean-Marc Sauvé, Giuseppe Tesauro and Jean-Claude Trichet, co-signed a statement[22] that the European Parliament was wrong to dismiss Sylvie Goulard.[23]

On 29 November 2019, she was formally indicted for misappropriation of public funds.[24][25][26]

Other activities[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Goulard, a centrist, strongly supports NATO and the European Union, and holds hawkish views on the regimes of Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In 2004, before accession discussions were opened with Turkey, Goulard had taken a position in the debate citing concerns about the eventual enlargement of the European Union to include Turkey by underlining the necessity of preserving the European Union's political ambitions and its capacity to act. She also called for doubts of citizens, facing a European project whose direction they do not properly understand, to be taken seriously.

Following the 2014 elections, Goulard joined fellow MEPs Othmar Karas, Sven Giegold, Sophie in 't Veld and Alessia Mosca in an open letter aimed at exerting pressure on the President of the European Commission and national government leaders during the nominations process to improve the gender balance in the composition of the European Commission.[31]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Guillaume Goulard, councilor of state, and is mother of three children.


  • Le Grand Turc et la République de Venise, Fayard, 2004 Prix du livre pour l’Europe 2005.
  • Le Partenariat privilégié, alternative à l’adhésion en collaboration avec Rudolf Scharping, Karl Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg, Pierre Defraigne, Carlo Altomonte, Lucas Delattre, Note bleue de la Fondation Schuman no 38, 6 décembre 2006
  • Le Coq et la Perle, Seuil, février 2007
  • L'Europe pour les nuls, First, 2007 ; 3e édition, 2014 Prix du Livre européen de l'essai 2009.
  • Il faut cultiver notre jardin européen, Seuil, juin 2008
  • La Mondialisation pour les Nuls, de Francis Fontaine avec Brune de Bodman et Sylvie Goulard, First, 2010
  • De la démocratie en Europe, avec Mario Monti, Flammarion, 2012
  • Europe : amour ou chambre à part, Flammarion, 2013, coll. " Café Voltaire »
  • Goodbye Europe, Flammarion, 2016


  1. ^ "Sylvie Goulard appointed deputy governor at Banque de France". Politico Europe. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  2. ^ "8th parliamentary term – Sylvie GOULARD – MEPs". European Parliament. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  3. ^ Rodolphe Geisler (September 20, 2010), François Bayrou se dote d'un «Shadow Cabinet» Le Figaro.
  4. ^ Sébastien Le Fol (28 November 2016), Sylvie Goulard veut réveiller le Parlement européen Le Point.
  5. ^ John Irish (17 May 2017), Macron emphasises EU in French foreign, defence ministry postings Reuters.
  6. ^ "Macron reshuffles Cabinet, boosts women to top posts". France 24. Associated Press. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  7. ^ Anne-Sylvaine Chassany and Claire Jones (17 January 2017), [1] Financial Times.
  8. ^ "French defence minister quits over new EU fake jobs inquiry". France 24. Associated Press. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Sylvie Goulard appointed deputy governor at Banque de France". Politico Europe. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  10. ^ Announcing the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development: Rethinking Policy Priorities in the light of Pandemics World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, press release of August 11, 2020.
  11. ^ "Macron picks longtime ally as EU commissioner". Politico Europe. 28 August 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  12. ^ Andrea Muratore, Difesa europea, Ursula spegne i sogni di Macron La von der Leyen chiude alla Difesa europea autonoma], Inside Over, 13 September 2019
  13. ^ Stone, Jon (10 October 2019). "Sylvie Goulard: Emmanuel Macron's pick for EU commissioner blocked by European Parliament". The Independent.
  14. ^ "Resumed hearing of Sylvie GOULARD, Commissioner-designate, Internal Market: Opening statement by Sylvie GOULARD". European Parliament. 10 October 2019.
  15. ^ "France's Commission pick Sylvie Goulard rejected by Parliament". POLITICO. 10 October 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  16. ^ Serbeto, Enrique (10 October 2019). "El Parlamento Europeo rechaza a la candidata francesa para la Comisión, Sylvie Goulard". ABC (in Spanish).
  17. ^ "Macron blames 'political game' as MEPs reject commission candidate". The Guardian. 10 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019. France's candidate Sylvie Goulard rejected over job with thinktank and party's alleged misuse of funds
  18. ^ "'On va la flinguer lors du vote' : la bourde du PPE dans un tweet publié après le rejet de la candidature de Sylvie Goulard". France Info. France Info. 10 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Centre-right EU parliament group to vote against Macron's EU candidate – spokesman". Euronews. 10 October 2019.
  20. ^ Robert, Aline (10 October 2019). "Why the European Parliament rejected Sylvie Goulard". Euractiv.
  21. ^ "Echec de Sylvie Goulard à la Commission européenne : les leçons d'un camouflet pour Emmanuel Macron". Le Monde. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  22. ^ "Fairness, Trust and the Rule of Law". 21 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Brussels Playbook". Politico Europe. 21 October 2019.
  24. ^ "Sylvie Goulard a été mise en examen pour détournement de fonds publics". Libération. 2 December 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Sylvie Goulard, ex-ministre des armées, mise en examen dans l'affaire des assistants parlementaires du MoDem". Le Monde. 2 December 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  26. ^ "Macron crisis: First pick as EU commissioner faces investigation over fake jobs scandal". Daily Express. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  27. ^ "Mais pourquoi Sylvie Goulard a-t-elle quitté le gouvernement?". Le Journal du Dimanche. Retrieved 29 June 2017..
  28. ^ Board Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII).
  29. ^ Strategic Advisory Board French Institute of International Relations (IFRI).
  30. ^ Advisory Group New Pact for Europe.
  31. ^ Cynthia Kroet (26 June 2014), A shortage of women round the Commission table Politico Europe.

External links[edit]

Media related to Sylvie Goulard at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Yves Le Drian
Minister of the Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Florence Parly