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France's Macron to meet European Council chief Tusk on Wednesday: presidency

19 May 2017, 07:59 | Taylor George

European Council President Donald Tusk

European Council President Donald Tusk

Macron, who swept into Berlin with his newly-appointed German-speaking prime minister, Édouard Philippe, reached for historic rhetoric in his speech, announcing that he would seek not just short-term results in tackling French unemployment, but nothing less than the "historic reconstruction of Europe and the eurozone".

"We will not achieve this target the way it looks at the moment", Merkel said Monday during a meeting with her party (CDU) in Berlin.

At least 24 Socialists are now campaigning for re-election under the banner of Mr Macron's Republic on the Move party.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel may have broken with protocol to back Emmanuel Macron's candidacy.

France's new President Emmanuel Macron secured backing on Monday from key ally Chancellor Angela Merkel for his bid to shake up Europe, despite scepticism in Berlin over his proposed reforms.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, an arch conservative who has come to personify Berlin's focus on fiscal rectitude, had suggested that Macron's idea of creating a budget and finance minister for the euro zone was unrealistic because it would require politically thorny changes to the European Union treaty.

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

Both leaders suggested they were prepared to change European treaties if needed, but Mrs Merkel stressed that such measures were not immediately on the table.

"In the past, the subject of treaty change was a French taboo".

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Macron, 39, who smashed the traditional left-right grip on French politics to win the presidency, gave ministerial jobs to conservatives, socialists and political newcomers on Wednesday, appointing an unprecedented all-stripes cabinet to bridge divides and broaden his support. "Macron!" and waving European flags.

She added that the two countries would draw up a road map for boosting cooperation between the European Union member states.

And while his election was welcomed on the other side of the Rhine, many sectors of the German government and media are leery of the concessions Macron is expected to demand.

Germany and France are the eurozone's two biggest economies.

Macron addressed a source of German concern by saying that he had "never defended [the idea of] Eurobonds or the mutualisation of existing debt in the eurozone" because it would make some countries less responsible.

"There are several areas in which we can cooperate in the short term - common asylum policy, posted workers and bilateral trade".

Mr Macron added, however, that "what I know is that we have investments to make (in Europe), and so we have to work on investment mechanisms for the future".

Macron, who ran on a pro-EU platform, decisively beat far-right rival Marine Le Pen in the second-round vote earlier this month. A trained lawyer, he worked as public affairs director for the state nuclear group Areva between 2007 and 2010, before becoming a member of parliament in 2012, and then mayor of Le Havre in 2014.



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