Portrait of Thierry Breton
28 October 2019

European Commission: France proposes Thierry Breton

The President of the Republic has submitted his proposal to the President of the European Commission to appoint Thierry Breton as a member of the Commission. The latter will then have a hearing before members of the European Parliament in accordance with the usual appointment procedure.
The portfolio entrusted to France will remain unchanged. It is a broad portfolio, covering industrial policy, strengthening the European internal market, digital technology, defence and space.

The President of the Republic had occasion to point out that France’s candidate must meet the skills and experience criteria that form the basis of his legitimacy with the European institutions and his interlocutors in order to assume the portfolio entrusted to him. It is for this reason that France has chosen Thierry Breton.

Solid skills in the fields covered by the portfolio

Thierry Breton has a thorough knowledge of economic, industrial and digital matters, with experience in all these fields:
  • Former Minister of Economy and Finance between February 2005 and May 2007, with supervision over industry. In this capacity, Thierry Breton worked on economic and industrial policies with a European dimension, which enabled him to acquire a detailed knowledge of the institutions.
  • CEO of major industrial groups operating in digital/new technologies, particularly for the defence sector: Atos (since 2008), Thomson (early 2000) and France Télécom. In these roles, he acquired extensive hands-on experience in the field and, with an in-depth knowledge of Brussels institutions, he will not have a bureaucratic approach to European projects.
  • 2013 European digital mission, the aim of which was to work on building a European framework for the cloud. This mission was conducted in collaboration with the CEO of the German software giant SAP. Thierry Breton maintains, in particular, that in order to protect Europeans’ data, it must be stored and processed in Europe under European law.
  • In the field of space, Thierry Breton served as a director of the National Space Agency (CNES).

A convinced European with proven commitment and experience

Thierry Breton has led projects in partnership with Germany in the industrial, political and institutional fields:
  • He has argued that the Franco-German alliance should make it possible to stand up against foreign competition. In 2011, at the helm of Atos, he led the transformative acquisition of the German industrial group "Siemens IT Solutions and Services". Thus, the Atos Group has become a major example of a successful European industrial and technological alliance along the lines of the Airbus model. Atos has since then established itself as a European company, with headquarters in both France and Munich.
  • On a European political and institutional level, he led the European digital mission (see above).
  • In 2016, Thierry Breton had the opportunity to work with Ursula Von der Leyen, then German Defence Minister, when he proposed the creation of a European Defence and Security Fund to boost European investment in defence and promote the development of European industry in this area.

Experience in national politics and as a local elected official

The experience gained at national level – as a former minister – and local level – as a regional councillor – has fuelled Thierry Breton’s desire to link political action – also at European level – with the issues that have a concrete impact on French and European citizens.

Thierry Breton is also in full agreement with the European project led by the President of the Republic.