Jean-Yves Le Drian

Jean-Yves Le Drian (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ iv lə dʁijɑ̃]; born 30 June 1947) is a French politician who served as Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs in the governments of Prime Ministers Édouard Philippe and Jean Castex (2017–2022)[1] and as Minister of Defence under President François Hollande (2012–2017).[2][3] A former member of the Socialist Party, he had been an Independent from 2018 before founding Territories of Progress in 2020.

Jean-Yves Le Drian
Conférence-débat de Jean-Yves Le Drian, ministre de la Défense, et John Chambers président du Conseil d’administration de Cisco Systems le Mardi 18 octobre 2016 à L'Ecole polytechnique (29792458914).jpg
Le Drian in October 2016
Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs
In office
17 May 2017 – 20 May 2022
Prime MinisterÉdouard Philippe
Jean Castex
Preceded byJean-Marc Ayrault
Succeeded byCatherine Colonna
President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
In office
17 May 2019 – 27 November 2019
Preceded byTimo Soini
Succeeded byDavid Zalkaliani
President of the Regional Council of Brittany
In office
18 December 2015 – 2 June 2017
Preceded byPierrick Massiot
Succeeded byLoïg Chesnais-Girard
In office
2 April 2004 – 29 June 2012
Preceded byJosselin de Rohan
Succeeded byPierrick Massiot
Minister of Defence
In office
16 May 2012 – 10 May 2017
Prime MinisterJean-Marc Ayrault
Manuel Valls
Bernard Cazeneuve
Preceded byGérard Longuet
Succeeded bySylvie Goulard
Secretary of State for the Sea
In office
16 May 1991 – 2 April 1992
Prime MinisterÉdith Cresson
Preceded byJacques Mellick
Succeeded byCharles Josselin
Mayor of Lorient
In office
4 July 1981 – 2 April 1998
Preceded byJean Lagarde
Succeeded byNorbert Métairie
Member of the National Assembly
for Morbihan
In office
12 June 1997 – 19 June 2007
Preceded byMichel Godard
Succeeded byFrançoise Olivier-Coupeau
In office
3 April 1978 – 1 April 1991
Preceded byYves Allainmat
Succeeded byPierre Victoria
Constituency5th (1978–1986)
At-large (1986–1988)
5th (1988–1991)
Personal details
Born (1947-06-30) 30 June 1947 (age 75)
Lorient, France
Political partySocialist Party (1974–2018)
Independent (2018–2020)
Territories of Progress (since 2020)
Alma materUniversity of Rennes 2

Family and educationEdit

Jean-Yves Le Drian was born in Lorient to working-class parents, Jean and Louisette, who were active members of the Young Christian Workers (Jeunesse ouvrière chrétienne, JOC). He completed his studies at the University of Rennes 2, where he was an activist for the Union Nationale des Étudiants de France (UNEF).[2] First of all interested by Breton Democratic Union (UDB) in the 1970s, he joined the Socialist Party (PS) in May 1974.[4]

Political careerEdit

Early functionsEdit

In 1977, he assumed the position of Deputy Mayor of Lorient; one year later, at the age of 30, he became a member of the National Assembly for Morbihan. He served until 1993 and then again from 1997 until 2007.[5] He became Mayor of Lorient in 1981 and retained the office until 1988; he also served as Secretary of State for the Sea under President François Mitterrand from 1991 to 1992.

In the 2004 regional elections, leading the Bretagne à gauche, Bretagne pour tous (PS-PCF-PRG-Les Verts-UDB) list, he won 58.66% of the vote in the runoff and a total of 58 seats in the Regional Council of Brittany. He thus became President of the Regional Council of Brittany. In October 2010 he became President of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR).[6]

Minister of Defence, 2012–2017Edit

Jean-Yves Le Drian at the École Polytechnique in 2015, with Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs

Le Drian was nominated to serve as Minister of Defence under President François Hollande on 16 May 2012.[6] He managed the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan and the deployment of French troops in the Northern Mali conflict and Operation Barkhane. He is also credited with leading a resurgence in French weapons' exports that have resulted in billions of euros in deals, including the first exports of the Dassault Rafale fighter jet.[7]

On 23 March 2017, Le Drian endorsed Emmanuel Macron's candidacy for President of the Republic.[8] After Macron won the presidential election, he appointed Le Drian as Foreign Minister in the First Philippe government.

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, 2017–2022Edit

Le Drian with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 2021

Le Drian remained in office when the Second Philippe government was inaugurated; on 8 March 2018, he officially resigned from the Socialist Party.

In August 2019, Le Drian called on Hong Kong authorities to renew talks with Hong Kong protesters to find a peaceful solution to the then ongoing crisis.[9] On 9 October 2019, Le Drian condemned the unilateral Turkish operation in Northeastern Syria and declared that Turkey's military incursion "is jeopardising the anti-Islamic State coalition’s security and humanitarian efforts and is a risk for the security of Europeans".[10]

Le Drian with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 2016

In 2020, Le Drian created the new movement Territories of Progress with fellow minister Olivier Dussopt.[11]

The announcement of the AUKUS security pact between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia in September 2021 sparked a period of diplomatic tensions in French-American and French-Australian relations.[12] The French government received official notification from Australia that the Attack-class submarine project, involving a A$90 billion Australian contract to buy 12 French submarines,[13] was to be cancelled only a few hours before it was publicly announced.[14] In a joint statement, Le Drian and French armed forces minister Florence Parly expressed disappointment at Australia's decision to abandon their joint submarine program with France.[15][16] Le Drian further stated in a radio interview that the contract termination was a "stab in the back".[16] On 17 September, France recalled its ambassadors from Australia and the US.[13] Despite tension in the past, France had never before withdrawn its ambassador to the United States.[17]

In November 2021, in an interview with the newspaper Le Monde, Le Drian expressed concern about the economic predation weighing on African countries, pointing the finger at China and Russia: "Our competitors have no taboos or limits." According to Le Drian, Europeans must at all costs rebuild their relationship with the African continent.

Awards and honoursEdit


  • Qui est l'ennemi ?, Paris, ed. Le Cerf, 2016


  1. ^ Sacha Nelken (20 May 2022), Au revoir, au revoir président: Blanquer, Bachelot, Schiappa… Les principaux recalés du gouvernement Borne 1 Libération.
  2. ^ a b "Actualité – Personnalité – Jean-Yves Le Drian". Le Point. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  3. ^ "CV: Jean-Yves LE DRIAN" (PDF). European Commission. 25 January 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 February 2014.
  4. ^ Raynaudon-Kerzerho, Maiwenn (1 March 2014). "L'Union démocratique bretonne : un demi-siècle de lutte pour l'autonomie" [The Breton Democratic Union: half a century of fight for the autonomy]. Bretons (in French). No. 96. Vannes/Gwened, Brittany: Les Éditions Blanc et Noir. p. 38. ISSN 0245-9507.
  5. ^ "Monsieur Jean-Yves LE DRIAN" Le Trombinoscope 29 May 2008, a commercial biographical database in French.
  6. ^ a b "Jean-Yves Le Drian is the new French Minister for Defence". Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe. 18 May 2012. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  7. ^ Factbox: Ministers in new French government Reuters, May 17, 2017.
  8. ^ "French election: Defence Minister Le Drian defects to Macron". BBC. 23 March 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  9. ^ Jones, Gareth (15 August 2019). "France urges Hong Kong authorities to renew dialogue with protesters". Yahoo news.
  10. ^ "France says Turkey operation jeopardises security and humanitarian efforts". Reuters. 9 October 2019.
  11. ^ progrès, Territoires de. "Territoires de progrès | Accueil | Mouvement politique". Territories of Progress (in French). Retrieved 11 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Explainer: Why is a submarine deal sparking a diplomatic crisis?".
  13. ^ a b Shields, Bevan (18 September 2021). "France recalls its ambassadors to Australia and United States amid submarine fury". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 17 September 2021. Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  14. ^ Probyn, Andrew (17 September 2021). "French Ambassador says Australia's decision to scrap submarine deal was a breach of trust". ABC News. Archived from the original on 17 September 2021. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Communiqué conjoint de Jean-Yves Le Drian et de Florence Parly". France Diplomatie (in French). Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères. 16 September 2021. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  16. ^ a b "Aukus: UK, US and Australia launch pact to counter China". BBC News. 16 September 2021. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  17. ^ Wadhams, Nick; Adghirni, Samy; Nussbaum, Ania (17 September 2021). "France Recalls Its Ambassador to U.S. for First Time Over Subs". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 18 September 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Le Drian décoré par le président égyptien" [Le Drian decorated by the Egyptian President] (in French). Le Figaro. 28 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Légion d'honneur : Jean-Yves Le Drian et d'autres Bretons dans la promotion du 14-Juillet". 14 July 2022.
  20. ^ "RDes C130J franco-allemands bientôt à Evreux". defense.gouv.f. 14 April 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Japan to honor 4,113 people in autumn decorations". Arab News. 3 November 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  22. ^ "Le Drian décoré au Mexique, les relations au beau fixe". 12 December 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Postanowienie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 27 maja 2014 r. o nadaniu orderów i odznaczenia" (PDF). Monitor Polski (Dziennik Urzędowy Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Real Decreto 1093/2015, de 4 de diciembre por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica Jean-Yves Le Drian, Ministro de Defensa de la República Francesa". BOE (Spanish Official Journal). 5 December 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2016.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Jean-Yves Le Drian at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Order of precedence
Preceded byas Former President of the Republic Order of precedence of France
Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs
Succeeded byas Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports