Tuesday, 30 August 2022, Paris, French Republic: Ambassador of France, Anne-Marie Descôtes, took office seconding French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna at the Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs in the capacity of the ministry’s secretary-general.
Descôtes thus becomes the first female to occupy the post since it was created back in 1915, and entrusted to then diplomat Jules Cambon. She succeeds her colleague François Delattre who had served in the position since 1 July 2019. The Secretary-General is the highest as a civil servant within Quai d’Orsay, and second in rank after the minister herself.
This function is a specificity of the French administration, and reflects the need for coordination and unity of action specific to the European and Foreign Affairs department. The position generally ensures the smooth running of the ministry, and replaces the minister in all her duties. She likewise sways a moral role as head of the corps of all diplomats, and it is she who most often receives foreign ambassadors accredited to the French Republic.
Before returning to Paris, Anne-Marie Descôtes (b. 5 December 1959 in Lyon) represented France in Germany since June 2017 and up to end of August 2022. Customarily her new capacity is accorded to an ‘Ambassadeur/Ambassadrice de France‘, a rank she attained on 25 November 2020 as per presidential decree.
Before departing Germany, German Federal President Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier presented her with the Federal Order of Merit on Tuesday, 23 August.
Image courtesy of the French Embassy in Germany – Ambassade de France en Allemagne