Reshuffle: Patrice Vergriete moves from Housing to Transport

Reshuffle: Patrice Vergriete moves from Housing to Transport

From Housing to Transport. Patrice Vergriete, former Minister for Housing, was appointed this Thursday, February 8, Minister for Transport. Ex-PS, today various leftists, ex-mayor of Dunkirk – and current president of the city’s urban community, a position he was keen to keep – Patrice Vergriete therefore remains to the government, which he joined on July 20, 2023 under Élisabeth Borne. But he changes portfolio.

“He would have preferred to be taken back to Housing,” confides a Renaissance deputy. Moreover, until very recently, Patrice Vergriete continued to discuss with Christophe Béchu, his former supervisory minister, who remained in his post, on a bill against “degraded housing”.

Patrice Vergriete, a man of the left, son of a boilermaker and a stay-at-home mother, is also a man of the territories. Thanks to his academic background and his experience, he is recognized as an expert in town planning and development, including transport. Last month, he was appointed… to the presidency of the French Transport Infrastructure Financing Agency (Afit). A sneak peek of his new portfolio.

A signal sent to the left wing

As mayor of Dunkirk, one of his most significant projects concerns transport. In 2018, the city becomes the largest European city to make buses free. The elected official, then, defended a “social and ecological” measure. Success is immediate. Since then, 75,000 people take the bus every day in the urban community of Dunkirk.

At the Ministry of Transport, he will have to deal, among other things, with the subject of metropolitan RERs, or even that of the 100 billion euros promised to carry out a vast railway plan in France. The transition, also, on the side of French motorists, from a fleet of thermal cars to a fleet of electric cars, and the hot topics of the ecological bonusthe conversion bonus or even the social leasing. A file on the electric transition in automobiles that he knows well, since Dunkirk, his home territory, today hosts two battery gigafactories, Verkor and ProLogium.

After the right-wing defectors, his appointment is a signal sent to the left wing of the majority. Patrice Vergriete is one of the ministers who put their resignation in the balance to protest against the tightening of the Immigration law at the end of last year. Irony of history, Clément Beaune, the former Minister for Transport, had also expressed his doubts about the text, before falling into line. But Emmanuel Macron has not forgiven him. Patrice Vergriete, at two meters and a few centimeters tall, continues the government adventure. Clément Beaune was not resettled.

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