PARIS (Reuters) – France is creating three beefed-up ministries for finance, social affairs and the environment to respond to the coronavirus shockwaves convulsing the economy, as Emmanuel Macron attempts to recast his presidency.

In a cabinet reshuffle days after Macron’s party took a drubbing in local elections, Elisabeth Borne will take charge of an enhanced Labour and Social Affairs ministry just as the worst economic depression in decades unravels gains on unemployment.

Macron is also seeking to reset relations with unions and voters after waves of protests.

Borne, who successfully pushed through changes to French railways in the face of union opposition, will be in charge of sensitive pension reforms.

Bruno Le Maire will stay at the helm of a Finance Ministry tasked with steering France out of the downturn, and is now in full control of the budget.

Former Green party politician Barbara Pompili will run a dedicated Environment Ministry as Macron and his new prime minister seek more emphasis on green policies to drive the economic rebound and build a sustainable future for companies like Air France and Renault.

She will be in charge of housing, a key ministry for the future stimulus package which Macron said would include a major plan to insulate homes.

The reshuffle comes eight days after municipal elections that saw the Greens surge in major cities like Lyon, Bordeaux and Strasbourg.

Macron surprised observers by adding a few eye-catching names to the cabinet such as Roselyne Bachelot, a minister in previous conservative governments turned TV host, who was named culture minister. Outspoken criminal lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti becomes justice minister.

But a presidential aide said the theme for the main economic briefs was “continuity”, in a sign Macron will not veer left and will seek to consolidate his centre-right base ahead of a possible re-election bid in 2022.

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The president had sought to “reward ministers who had proved their worth,” the aide said.

Opposition politicians said the changes were nowhere near the reinvention Macron had promised.

“It’s a game of musical chairs,” Alexis Corbiere, a lawmaker for the far-left France Unbowed party, told BFM TV. “Let’s be frank, it’s a roadmap for more of the same.”

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