Home News COVID-style: French ministers keep their distance for group photo

COVID-style: French ministers keep their distance for group photo

Published on July 29, 2020

France’s new cabinet posed for its official photograph Wednesday, standing in an unusual, spaced formation to observe social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Rather than the traditional shoulder-to-shoulder group shot, the portrait is taken from afar to fit President Emmanuel Macron’s new 43-member team into the frame on the Elysee Palace’s lawn.

The 30 ministers and 12 junior ministers under new Prime Minister Jean Castex appear tiny, their shadows long in the empty space between them, and their faces almost indistinguishable in the photo dominated by large trees in the far background.

The new government was thrashed out earlier this month in a reshuffle seen by analysts as a bid by Macron to improve his reelection chances in 2022.

Critics say the government is still way too big — and the official photographer would have struggled to fit in all the ministers plus Castex and Macron spread out on the grass with a one-metre (3.3-foot) gap between them.

They do not wear masks in the photo, but did put them back on upon leaving the Elysee Palace, with ministers keen to set a good example amid concerns of a new rise in cases.

“The French expect concrete results from us. This is what we are committed to! Let us continue change to build a better economic, social, environmental and cultural future,” Macron tweeted with the new portrait.