Ocean Policy


Only July 2, 2013, President Francis Hollande dismissed Delphine Batho, the then-Minister of le Ministere de l'Ecologie, du Developpement durable et de l'Energie (MEDDE) that held jurisdiction over ocean policies, and assigned Philippe Martin as her successor. The official reasoning of Batho's departure was due to her criticism of the 2013 budget on a radio broadcast, which is thought to have caused a discord within the cabinet (The MEDDE's budget has been in fact dropping overall, even for the ocean division alone). However, unofficially, the media has speculated that her dismissal was due to mounting pressure from industries opposed to her stance to prioritize the environment over energy development, from actions such as revoking permission for developing shale gas on the ocean floor. This was the second abrupt change of a MEDDE minister due to energy policies under the Hollande administration*1. What principles the French government will adopt in the future is of notable worth.

Perhaps due to the above political conflict, it can be said that the development of France's ocean policies in FY2013 did not progress smoothly. In fact, policies for marine reserves and offshore wind power generation did not progress according to their initial timetable, and Conseil national de la mer et des littoraux (CNML)*2, the state level advisory committee established in January 2013 in relation to ocean issues, finally held a second conference on July 18, 2013, six months after being set up.

  1. *1The first change occurred in June 2012 with Nicole Bricq transferring to the position of the Minister for Foreign Trade, and leaving the post of MEDDE minister. It was said that this was done in a course of cabinet reshuffling pro forma, not a change, however, it is considered abnormal for such a shift in post to occur within a month from the inauguration of Hollande's new administration (May 2015). The French media reported the reasoning for her departure as due to pressure from industries that disliked her energy policies prioritizing the environment.
  2. *2Please refer to the 2012 report (page 38) for further details.

Ocean Policies of Other Countries