Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

France's new president wastes no time: names PM, sees Merkel

France's new president wastes no time: names PM, sees Merkel

The former Italian prime minister, who developed a reputation for diplomatic blunders during his years in power, joked on Monday that Mr Macron was a "39-year-old lad, with good work experience under him and most of all with a good looking mom who has carried him under her arm when he was still a child".

"We each represent the interests of our own countries, but the interests of Germany are naturally closely tied to the interests of France", she said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the election of new French President Emmanuel Macron offers an opportunity to bring new dynamism to Europe. He traveled to Berlin a day after being sworn in, continuing a tradition of French presidents making their first foreign trip to Germany.

Then, a large crowd outside the chancellery welcomed Macron to Berlin, with some waving European Union flags.

Macron has vowed to increase France's military spending to meet its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commitment of 2 percent of national income.

"But I am incredibly lucid when it comes to Macron and his team".

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Zombie Catholicism, according to French scholars Emmanuel Todd and Hervé Le Bras in their book Le Mystère français ("The French mystery"), is typical of those areas of France such as Macron's Brittany where the faith has fallen into desuetude while remaining active in the collective consciousness.

Bernard Accoyer, a former Republicans president of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, was more explicit and said that Philippe would have to say whether he would support candidates from his Republicans party, or candidates from Macron's En Marche! movement.

For far-right leader Marine Le Pen, Macron's rival for the presidency, the selection of Philippe reflects a continuation of the system she hoped to break.

Germany's Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement it's important "that we move Europe forward together, that we take the initiative and get the German-French engine running at full speed".

As well as the political coup of poaching Philippe from the right, Macron is also siphoning off support from lawmakers on the left.

"We know that in the world in which we live in it's not the president who imposes foreign policy, but foreign policy that imposes itself on the president", said Francois Heisbourg, a Macron adviser and chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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And both count well-connected political advisor and writer Jacques Attali as well as late Socialist prime minister Michel Rocard as influences during their ascent through French political life.

Without a parliamentary majority, he will find it hard to push through his ambitious plans to loosen France's strict labor laws, boost entrepreneurship and reduce class sizes in tough neighborhoods.

Merkel chose to accentuate the positive ahead of her meeting with Macron.

The head of The Republicans reacted coolly towards the appointment of Mr Philippe, saying it was an ambiguous move and it was unclear what political line he would follow.

France will be the European Union's only member with nuclear weapons and a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council once Britain leaves the bloc.

The Cabinet includes 18 ministers and 4 junior ministers, half of them women and half men. A close link between Macron and Merkel could lead to a higher level of defense cooperation between the two major European powers.

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