Following France's recent elections which saw the upheaval of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's government and a resurgence of the conservative right, culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon is on his way out after only two years in office.

Replacing Aillagon is Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, a former deputy minister of European Affairs in Raffarin's first cabinet.

On Thursday, his first day in office, de Vabres pledged his commitment to finding a solution to the ongoing showbusiness artists' and technicians' strike. "I come with a mind open to listening and discussing in order to find a solution," he said.

The strike by France's "intermittents de spectacle" dogged Aillagon over the past year and especially last summer when many festivals and events were cancelled or hindered by the protesters - including the prestigious Avignon theatre festival. Already armed with a disclaimer, de Vabres also noted that he is not "a magician" with regard to resolving the strike which increases the number of working hours in order to qualify for benefits.

Among the other issues facing de Vabres are the unfinished building project of the Maison du Cinema at Bercy, a pending VAT reduction on music, the forthcoming addition of digital television and the 24-hour news channel - a pet project of French president Jacques Chirac.