Mystery of Macron's brutal power play against France's antitrust authority


Abruptly and without any warning, the Élysée decided that it was not renewing Isabelle de Silva's contract as the president of France's competition authority the Autorité de la Concurrence from October 13th. The decision, which has reportedly surprised and dismayed government ministers as well as many observers, was taken so late that a successor has not yet been lined up. The main theory to explain Emmanuel Macron's shock move is that the highly-respected De Silva was seen as an obstacle to the proposed merger between two private French TV companies, TF1 and the smaller M6, a tie-up that the Élysée favours. More generally, the independent Autorité de la Concurrence is also seen as a block to Emmanuel Macron's aim of creating large-scale national business champions. Martine Orange reports.

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She does not understand. Or rather, she understands all too well why her contract was not renewed as president of France's antitrust body the Autorité de la Concurrence on October 13th. It was on October 1st that Isabelle de Silva learnt from finance minister Bruno Le Maire that President Emmanuel Macron was not going to let her stay on at the end of her five-year term, even though it had been widely assumed she would continue in the role. As she said later in an interview with the Financial Times, no explanation was given. In Macron's Republic, the fact that the executive has decided is apparently reason enough.