Merkel, Macron seek to revitalise ties to bolster EU

Merkel, Macron seek to revitalise ties to bolster EU

Merkel, Macron seek to revitalise ties to bolster EU

Emmanuel Macron's election as French president was the best news Canada could have hoped for, particularly regarding free trade, Canada's ambassador to France said Thursday.

On Macron's first official visit to Berlin just 24 hours after being inaugurated, both leaders on Monday expressed their commitment to do everything they can to improve the rapport between the two capitals to, in Macron's words, achieve an "historic new foundation" for the EU, Efe news reported.

Macron said he will be an "open, direct and constructive partner" of Germany and also called for more "pragmatism" in bilateral relations.

Agreeing a "road map" for the future of the EU, the German chancellor and French president agreed to tackle nationalists across the Union and looked forward to major treaty change which would allow more significant integration between the bloc's members.

On Tuesday, he and Philippe were finalising a government which Macron says will supersede France's entrenched left-right divide and breathe new life into the country's jaded political landscape.

She told Macron during his first foreign visit as president Monday that "Europe will only do well if there is a strong France, and I am committed to that".

By becoming president with no established party backing he has already thrown traditional party loyalties into the air, and early poll predictions show his start-up Republic on the Move (REM) party will have more lower house seats than any other.

His choice of Philippe, 46, for prime minister was seen as a strategic pick by the 39-year-old president, who is trying to woo modernisers of all stripes to his side.

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Yet it remains to be seen if her approach would go down well in Germany, which is deeply averse to shouldering burdens of eurozone laggards.

Around 20 MPs today issued a statement urging the Republicans and centre-right UDI to "accept his outstretched hand", saying the right needed to "take the full measure of the political transformation taking place before their eyes".

For interior minister, Mr Macron picked Gerard Collomb, the mayor of Lyon who was one of the first Socialists to support him.

Macron's meeting with Merkel was his first visit overseas after his inauguration on Sunday, as it had been for his predecessors - Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.

A day after his inauguration, the fervently pro-EU Macron made his first trip overseas to Germany, the other half of the power couple driving European integration.

They arrived smiling Thursday, briefly posing for photographs on the front porch of the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned such deep-reaching reforms would require treaty changes, which were "not realistic" at a time when Europe is hit by a surge of anti-euro populism.

Macron added that he intends to back economic reforms in France, where Le Pen and his other opponents are seeking to bounce back in parliamentary elections slated for June 11 and 18.

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