How French foreign minister Catherine Colonna was appointed despite 'bullying' alerts

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Alerts concerning the new French foreign minister's behaviour were sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' dedicated 'zero tolerance' anti-bullying unit at the start of 2022, a few months before she was appointed, according to Mediapart's information. An inspection by the ministry's internal inspectorate was due to be carried out at the French embassy in London where Catherine Colonna was ambassador at the time. That review has since been postponed. Ellen Salvi reports.

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The news caused consternation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris. On May 20th Catherine Colonna was named as the new minister for Europe and foreign affairs even though the ministry's dedicated anti-bullying unit had received several alerts concerning her behaviour. The appointment sparked astonishment among many sources in Paris to whom Mediapart has spoken (see Boîte noire below). These sources point to past management issues relating to the former ambassador that they say were widely known in the corridors of the ministry, which is located at Quai d'Orsay on the banks of the River Seine.