Saturday, 18 January, 2020

With Merkel and PM, France's new president wastes no time

With Merkel and PM, France's new president wastes no time With Merkel and PM, France's new president wastes no time
Christy Curtis | 16 May, 2017, 08:05

An advocate of closer European Union integration, Macron backs a "multi-speed" Europe, an idea that has seen growing support in Germany and other EU countries since Britain voted to leave the bloc.

Among those are Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has come to personify Berlin's focus on the "Schwarze Null", or balanced budget.

Macron said in addition he plans to push for economic reforms in France in the coming months in order to fight the country's high unemployment rate.

Merkel said that Germany needs France to succeed, emphasising that "Europe will only do well if there is a strong France".

The chancellor will be committed to supporting Mr Macron as Germany craves a strong European Union supporter in the face of growing anti-Brussels populism.

While it is tradition for the incoming French president to make their first foreign trip to Germany, Ms Merkel and Mr Macron appear to have already formed a foundation.

Merkel greeted Macron with a handshake Monday ahead of a military honors ceremony. He is Merkel's fourth French president in almost 12 years as German leader.

A large group of onlookers, some carrying European flags, stood outside the chancellery as Mr Macron arrived. Macron previously met Merkel when he visited Berlin in March as a candidate.

His appointment marks a milestone in the rebuilding of France's political landscape, which has been dynamited by the election of Macron - the first president of modern France not from the country's mainstream left or right parties.

Nicolas Bay, the party's secretary general, said Macron's government is becoming "a synthesis of the worst of the right and the worst of the left".

"French presidents are free to choose their prime ministers, but only if they hold a majority in the National Assembly", the Times reports.

Philippe praised Cazeneuve's "quite exceptional" ministerial career and his "constant elegance". At least 24 Socialists are now campaigning for re-election under the banner of Macron's Republic on the Move party.

This month, Macron will also hold talks with Donald Trump, when the United States president visits Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

The new prime minister has co-authored two political thrillers: L'Heure de vérité (The Hour of Truth) and Dans l'ombre (In the Shadows).

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Melenchon got almost 20 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential election. Melenchon urged them not to give a parliamentary majority to new President Emmanuel Macron and to Philippe.

Alain Juppe, a former French prime minister, called Philippe "a man of great talent" with "all the qualities to handle the hard job".

When Mr Juppe was beaten, Mr Philippe switched his support to Francois Fillon for the French presidency but then quit the campaign when prosecutors started investigating allegations that Mr Fillon's family benefited illegally from taxpayer-funded jobs. Including the "thank you" at the end, the announcement of Philippe's appointment, delivered by the presidency's new secretary general, took just eight seconds.

Philippe's age reinforced the generational shift in France's corridors of power and the image of youthful vigor that Macron is cultivating.

"There's no sense for a Socialist to work against Emmanuel Macron".

This item has been corrected to show the GMT time is 1230 GMT, not 1330 GMT.

But Mrs Merkel had warned France to carry out reforms to revive the economy before it considers policy change.

Showing more solidarity with Germany on the migrant crisis and insisting a cut in French public spending is an integral part of his manifesto would also be mentioned as gestures of goodwill towards Berlin, the source said. She added that there have been many proposals over the years for the development of the 19-nation eurozone.

That said, Macron will still seek an equal-footed partnership with the US, Fyodorov said, adding that in foreign policy Macron will stay the course of his predecessor, Francois Hollande, and will keep fighting global terrorism as part of the US-led coalition. "It's tough. especially for the longest-serving ones", he said.

The German leader added that "we will do everything to develop good initiatives with the new president, Emmanuel Macron".

His choice of prime minister will be crucial in building confidence, with the 46-year-old centre-right Edouard Philippe from the Republicans party seen as the favourite for the job.

A year ago he was part of Juppe's unsuccessful campaign team in The Republicans' primaries, and then joined the presidential campaign of Francois Fillon, the party's nominee.

Picking him would send a clear signal that Macron hopes to attract other young modernisers from the Republicans to his new centrist party, Republic on the Move (REM), which will contest parliamentary elections in June.


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