Bonum Certa Men Certa

Battistelli's Furious Love Affair With French Power: Part III

ÉNASummary: A deeper look at Benoît Battistelli's ÉNA connections, rise to power at the EPO, and the “two Alpha males in the room [who] don't always listen,” according to Alison Brimelow (the previous President) before she stepped down

THE first and second part of this series (together with the teaser) highlighted the concentration of power around current (not just former) EPO President, Mr. Battistelli. We went back in time to his INPI days and also some of his professional connections, education (ÉNA), etc. We are hoping to show readers what makes Battistelli so confident and unafraid of public scrutiny. This series will culminate in the fourth part (next week), so today we hope to just share some input we have received during the week, in response to the first couple of parts.



One E-mail referred to EPO-ÉNA overlap. It told me, "thank you for the excellent investigation work. Here a document that may be of interest."

It's about Pierre Mendès France and ÉNA-based promotions (janvier 1976/mai 1978). Looking at the English article in Wikipedia, he was somewhat of an anti-imperialism person and this Wikipedia article speaks about École nationale d'administration role in promotion of all sorts of people. Among the notable alumni or connections which we had listed to us were the following individuals (which would probably mean something mostly to our French readers):

M. Ronny ABRAHAM

M. Jérôme ADAM

M. Jack ALZON

M. François ARCANGELI

M. Jacques ARRIGHI-DE-CASANOVA

M. Jean-François AUBY

M. Marc-Antoine AUTHEMAN

M. Jean-Marie AUVINET-Jean-Marie

M. Dominique BABIN-Dominique

M. Bertrand BACHE-Bertrand

M. Jacques BACHELIN-Jacques

M. Claude BALLADE-Claude

M. Jean-François BALTHAZAR-Jean-Francois

M. Eric BARRAULT-Eric

M. François BARRY-MARTIN-DELONGCHAMPS-Francois

Mme Christine BARTHET

M. Benoît BATTISTELLI-Benoit

M. Edouard BERLET-Edouard

M. Georges BERTHU-Georges

Mme Geneviève BERTRAND-Genevieve

M. Pierre-Etienne BISCH-Pierre-Etienne

M. Henri-Charles BLANC-Henri-Charles

M. Xavier BLANDIN-Xavier

M. Pierre BLAYAU-Pierre

M. Jean-François BOITTIN-Jean-Francois

M. Claude BONNET-Claude

M. Alain BOROWSKI-Alain

M. Alain BOURDELAT-Alain

M. Antoine BOUSQUET-Antoine

M. Hervé BREHIER-Herve

M. François BURDEYRON-Francois

M. Daniel CADOUX-Daniel

M. Philippe CALAVIA-Philippe

M. Daniel CANEPA-Daniel

M. Paul-Marie CHAVANNE-Paul-Marie

M. Bernard COCHEME-Bernard

M. Etienne COFFIN-Etienne

M. Charles COPPOLANI-Charles

M. Jean-Paul CORDEAU-Jean-Paul

M. Jean-François CORDET-Jean-Francois

M. Jean-Paul COSTE-Jean-Paul

M. François COUSIN-Francois

M. Henry CUNY-Henry

Mme Yvonne CUVIER-Yvonne

M. Henri-Jérôme DEGRELLE

M. Yann DELABRIERE-Yann

M. Dominique DELAUNAY-Dominique

M. Denis DELBOURG-Denis

Mme Marie-Christine DEMORTIER-Marie-Christine

M. Philippe DESLANDES-Philippe

M. François DESPORTES-Francois

M. Christian DIDIER-Christian

M. Robert DOMENGET-Robert

M. Francis DOUBLET-Francis

M. Alain DOYELLE-Alain

M. Michel DUCLOS-Michel

M. Jean-Michel DUMOND-Jean-Michel

M. Jean-Yves DUPUIS-Jean-Yves

M. Patrice DURAND-Patrice

M. Pierre DUVERNEY-GUICHARD

M. Jean-Marc ESPALIOUX-Jean-Marc

M. Bela FARAGO-Bela

M. Pascal FATON-Pascal

M. Gilbert FAUBERT

M. Claude FAURE-Claude

M. Guillaume FERRY-Guillaume-de

M. René FORCEVILLE-Rene

M. Patrice FORGET-Patrice

M. Christian FORMAGNE-Christian

M. José FRECHES-Jose

Mme Anne-Marie FROMENT-MEURICE-Anne-Marie

Mme Michèle GALLOT-Michele

M. Antoine GEORGES-PICOT-Antoine

M. Jacques GERARD-Jacques

M. Michel GIES-Michel

M. Eric GIUILY-Eric

M. Jean-Noël GIULIANI-Jean-Noel

M. Christian GOURNAY-Christian-de

M. Philippe GREGOIRE-Philippe

M. Serge GROSS-Serge

Mme Annick GUERBER-LE-GALL-Annick

Mme Isabelle HAUSSER-DUCLOS-Isabelle

M. Jean-Pierre HEMMERY-Jean-Pierre

M. Paul HERMELIN-Paul

Mme Véronique HESPEL-Veronique

M. François JACLOT-Francois

M. Bruno JOUBERT-Bruno,3080>)

M. Jean-François KRAFT-Jean-Francois

M. Louis KREISS-Louis

M. Antoine LABBE-Antoine

M. Bruno LASSERRE-Bruno

M. Michel LAVENSEAU-Michel

Mme Bettina LAVILLE-Bettina

M. Jean-Pierre LE COURT

M. Alain LEFOULON-Alain

M. Hervé LEHERISSEL-Herve

M. Bernard LEMAIRE-Bernard

M. François LE-PULOCH-Francois

M. Bertrand LEROY-Bertrand

M. Pierre LETOCART-Pierre

Mme Marianne LEVY-ROSENWALD-Marianne

M. Denis LOUDENOT-Denis

M. Yves MAGNE-Yves

M. Etienne MARIE-Etienne

M. Jean-Michel MARLAUD-Jean-Michel

M. Yves MARMION-Yves

M. Arsène MATTY-Arsene

M. Gérard MESTRALLET-Gerard

Mme Bénédicte MONROE-Benedicte

M. Gérard MOULIN-Gerard

Mme Monique MOUSSEAU-Monique

M. Henri ODART-DE-RILLY-DOYSONVILLE-Henri

M. Patrick OLIVIER-Patrick

M. Marc OLLIVIER-Marc

Mme Dominique PAGANT-Dominique

M. Bernard PAYS-Bernard

M. Michel PELISSIER-Michel

M. Jacques PERREAULT-Jacques

M. René PICON-DUPRE-Rene

M. Michel PINAULDT-Michel

M. Marc PINGUET-Marc

M. Bertrand POPLU-Bertrand

Mme Bérengère QUINCY-Berengere

M. Bruno RAIFAUD-Bruno

M. Gérard RAMEIX-Gerard

M. Philippe REY-Philippe

M. Claude REYNOIRD-Claude

M. Jean de RIBES-Jean-de

M. François RIEGERT-Francois

M. Yvon ROE-DALBERT-Yvon

M. Patrick ROUSSEL-Patrick

M. François ROUSSELY-Francois

M. Jacques ROUVIERE-Jacques

M. Alexis RUSET-Alexis

M. Gilles SANSON-Gilles

M. Thierry SCHWARZ-Thierry

Mme Marie-Paule SERRE-Marie-Paule

M. Hervé SOULIE-Herve

M. Pierre SOUTOU-Pierre

M. Jean-François STOLL-Jean-Francois

Mme Muriel SZILBER de SZILBEREKY-Muriel

Mme Annie TARGA-Annie

M. Yves TERRASSE-Yves

M. Jean-Marc TEULIERES-Jean-Marc

M. Bertrand THONNARD DU TEMPLE (Bernard ?)

M. Hervé THOUROUDE-Herve

M. Henri TOUTEE-Henri

M. Michel TOUVEREY-Michel

M. Jean-Maurice VERBOIS-Jean-Maurice

M. Jean-Louis VERGNOLLE-Jean-Louis

M. François VEVERKA-Francois

M. Philippe de VILLIERS-Philippe

M. Claude WARNET-Claude

M. Philippe ZELLER-Philippe


French readers have been writing to us about École nationale d'administration (always in relation to Battistelli). They have done so for well over a year now. Very well-educated individuals are wary and concerned about the role that École nationale d'administration plays in French and international politics. Sources for the above names include, e.g. [1, 2]. In case any of our French-speaking readers can add some context about the relation (if any) of the above individuals to the European Parliament, EPO and/or Battistelli, we would very much appreciate it, in preparation for this series' finale.

"I wanted to send you some background snippets about Battistelli," one reader told us, "in particular public blog entries circa 2010 deploring the horse trading that surrounded his election, as well as his immediate predecessors'.

"Still need to get this in shape," the reader added, "it's not a lot, but it would complete the picture. There was also Alison Brimelow's in-house announcement that she wouldn't seek reelection in 2010. The text mentioned "two alpha males" in the AC/Board28 which made her life difficult. There should be very little doubt about the identity of one of them..."

Consider how Battistelli treats delegates who aren't 100% in agreement with him.

"The other target of Mrs. Brimelow's comment could be either Roland Grossenbacher [Switzerland], or Jesper Kongstad [Denmark], but I'm not 100% sure."

We would like to add, referring back to the second part of this series, that there are indirect connections between a former President (Alain Pompidou) and Battistelli. The main connection is in French high society and implicates Christine Lagarde.

A reader remarked on our previous article by saying: "Regarding your characterisation of the École nationale d'administration as something of a "school for spoiled rich brats", a sort of Gallic "Bullingdon club": I think this appraisal is quite a bit off the mark, and requires qualification.

"The ÉNA's purpose is to be an elite school for producing elite public administrators. As the title of a French TV film suggests, it is an "école du pouvoir" - a place where you learn to wield power.

"It was a fictionalised story on the ascent of a few twentysomethings of Battistelli's generation in the late 1970s, whose profiles resembled those of the likes of François Hollande, Ségolène Royal or Dominique de Villepin.

"Incidentally, the British script-writer Kosminsky once made a film on Tony Blair's rise to power, and Haitian director Peck films about the infamous Tontons Macoutes or the murder of Patrice Lumumba.

"It is somewhat comparable to a business school like Harvard or Wharton, or certain Oxbridge schools as a ticket to a career in Whitehall.

"To get in the ÉNA, you must get through a grueling set of examinations, and once you're in you're quite literally in a rat race for the best exit ranking, decided on hidden and arbitrary criteria, but which could let you choose the plummest jobs available in the civil service.

"This kind of place does attract people who viscerally like power and/or money. Did I write "striver"? Sorry... It is also accused of breeding conformism.

"Is this Battistelli's vision for the EPO?

"Several books, have been written on this institution, and their tone is usually very critical. I particularly like the title of a recent one by an ÉNA graduate: "Promotion Ubu Roi", which incidentally echoes one of Battistelli's many in-house nicknames "Ubustelli".

"Having money to begin with doesn't help per se, but to an offspring of teachers or ÉNA alumni does. This is essentially an example of what sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called "reproduction sociale".

"The formal teaching curriculum of the two-year program is widely judged to be utterly worthless. What you really learn in the various paid internships are people, networking, behavioural codes and the human pecking order. And possibly a certain ruthlessness...

"To get in you can sit one of two entrance examinations, one for people who are already in the civil service, and another one who are external candidates that come either straight out of university or have professional experience. There are apparently special rules which dispense the candidate of some requirements if he is already a graduate of some other French elite school.

"Battistelli first attended "Sciences Po", which translates to "Institute for Political Studies". It is regarded as the standard path to get into ÉNA.

"I see it as a kind of university-level prep school. Even though the education there is generally good in its own right, a science/technical school it is definitively not."

Putting ÉNA aside for the moment, it's worth getting deeper into the days of Battistelli's appointment.

"Alison Brimelow's in-house blog announcement," told us one source, can possibly be retrieved "from early May 2009." If someone can send it to us the original, that would be valuable. In it, we're told, "there was no greeting or introduction, that's the way it went" (below).

Well, I broke the news to a rather surprised Board 28 on Wednesday before the start of the formal agenda...the chair asked 'why are you telling us today?' which in turn surprised me, and I said 'Because there is a Board 28 meeting...' The concept of parallel universes came to mind, not for the first time in my experience of the EPO.

First, thank you for the many kind and understanding reactions to the news. But I also hear that the brevity of my announcement has upset/puzzled some of you. Well, first I like brevity. Second, whatever I might have added, the speculation and embroidering would have carried on, so I thought I might as well leave room for it. Any major decision like this rests on a collection of 'pro x' and 'anti x' issues and turning that into a simple 'because ' is in my view pointless, and misleading.

The Board 28 was pretty difficult, because we have two Alpha males in the room and they don't always listen. There is also a feeling that for now at least short term taken precedence over the strategic. But other members are more helpful and supportive. The fact is that Member States have strongly divergent views on funding, but some deny that this is the case. That offers the office some room for manoeuvre.

In the evening I went to the ballet, because I foresaw that I might benefit from some diversion at the end of such a day. It was 'Le Corsaire', and absolutely wonderful. The Staatsballett is fortunate in having some very strong dancers, especially the men, and the ballet showed all their talent and energy. Having a lively sense of humour however, I couldn't avoid being reminded of Pirates of the Caribbean. Somebody told me today, 'the good thing about ballet is that you can't hear the words'...perhaps a lesson here for life in the European Patent Organisation? Concentrate on what happens, not what is said.

Talking of hearing words, Thursday ended with the well attended Europatag at the Isar Building, and my speech was about working together in difficult times. Indeed.

Enjoy the weekend.


"Alpha males," as Brimelow called them, will be the subject of our next post (outside this series).

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