Minister of the Interior (France)
The Minister of the Interior (French: Ministre de l'Intérieur; French pronunciation: [ministɛʁ də lɛ̃teˈʁjœʁ]) is an important position in the Government of France. The office is equivalent to the Interior Minister of other countries, like the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, the Minister of Public Safety in Canada or similar to a combination of the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security in the United States.
|Minister of the Interior
Ministre de l'Intérieur
|Ministry of the Interior|
|Reports to||President of the Republic|
|Seat||Hôtel de Beauvau, Paris 8e, France|
|Appointer||President of the Republic|
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Formation||7 August 1790|
The Minister of the Interior is responsible for the following:
- The general interior security of the country, with respect to criminal acts or natural catastrophes
- including the major law-enforcement forces
- General directorate for civil defence and crisis management (Sécurité Civile)
- the granting of identity documents (passports, identity cards) and driving licenses through the network of prefectures and subprefectures
- relations between the central government and local governments
- logistics and organisation of political elections, at the national and prefectoral levels; the results of the elections are overseen by the Constitutional Council or the administrative courts
- regulation of immigration and preventing illegal immigration
- integration of legal immigrants (professionally, linguistically, housing)
- all regional and departmental prefects and subprefects are subordinate to the Minister of the Interior
The Minister of the Interior also takes on the role of the former Minister of Worship and is formally consulted in the process of appointment of Catholic diocesan bishops (Briand-Ceretti Agreement). The Minister of Worship used to be a fully-fledged position; the office was abolished in 1912.
While the Ministry of the Interior supervises police forces, it does not supervise criminal enquiries. Those enquiries are conducted under the supervision of the judiciary.
The Minister for the Maison du Roi under the Ancien Régime is considered to be the precursor of the position of Minister of the Interior, which was officially established on 7 August 1790, during the French Revolution, when François-Emmanuel Guignard, comte de Saint-Priest became the inaugural officeholder. Although his tasks included the organisation of elections, relations with local authorities, agriculture, as well as trade, the Minister of the Interior's main duty was to oversee the functioning of police forces. This has been the case since then, with the exception of the period from 1796 to 1818, when a Ministry of Police was in use, which was also briefly restored under the Second Empire.
During the First Empire, the Interior Ministry's tasks were reduced; in 1824, the Ministry of Public Instruction was established to oversee France's education policy. In 1832, the Interior Ministry was primarily occupied with the holding of elections and maintenance of the firefighters force, as the Institut de France and national public libraries were transferred to the Public Instruction Ministry. In 1836, the Ministry of Public Works, Agriculture and Commerce was established.
In 1911, the Directorate of Penitentiary Administration, established in 1858 in the Interior Ministry to oversee prison conditions, was placed under the authority of the Minister of Justice. Nine years later, the Interior Ministry lost its public health policy department to the newly-established Ministry of Hygiene, Assistance and Social Security.
The Minister of the Interior has been Gérald Darmanin since 6 July 2020. He succeeded Christophe Castaner, who was appointed to the office on 16 October 2018. Darmanin is assisted by Marlène Schiappa, who holds the junior title of Minister for Citizenship in the government of Prime Minister Jean Castex.