Macron Taps Republican Le Maire for French Finance Ministry

When Britain leaves the bloc in 2019, France will be the EU's only member with nuclear weapons and a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Tusk was one of the first prominent European voices to congratulate Macron on his May 7 presidential election runoff victory over French far-right and anti-EU politician Marine Le Pen.

"This shows Europe is the priority", a French diplomatic source said of the rare inclusion of Europe in the foreign ministry portfolio, although also sounding a warning note on his suitability for the role.

On Sunday, Macron said: "We will need a more efficient Europe, a more democratic Europe, a more political Europe because it's the instrument of our power and our sovereignty, I will work on that".

Macron wants to break through the left-right divide that has dominated the euro zone's second-largest economy for decades, and so is drawing in figures from outside his year-old centrist Republic on the Move (REM) party to complete his list of ministers, expected on Wednesday.

The president's loyalist Sylvie Goulard, a liberal member of the European Parliament, was appointed minister of the armies, responsible for defence.

Among names being bandied around for the top job in Macron's first government, speculation mostly centered on Edouard Philippe. He has been named justice minister.

"He always said his government will have gender parity with people from various political backgrounds and from civil society", Mr Richard Ferrand, Mr Macron's campaign chief, said on France Inter on Tuesday.

He also could end up with a government led by an opposition party. Television presenter Nicolas Hulot was recruited to the ecology ministry and Gerald Darmanin, another Republican, was named budget minister.

Macron is the conservative Merkel's fourth French president in almost 12 years as chancellor.

How long that Cabinet lasts, and whether it's able to enact the economic modernisation Mr Macron promised in his campaign, will depend on parliamentary elections to be held on June 11 and June 18.

But the list of those tipped to be part of the government included veteran Socialists, as well as conservatives, centrists and newcomers to French politics.

Macron's office will announce the government lineup Wednesday afternoon, after a delay to dig deeper into proposed ministers' tax records and potential conflicts of interest. Mr Macron was a minister in the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Macron has pledged to fight corruption after tax evasion and other scandals hit the previous government. They range from quirky to obscure to old-school: math genius Cedric Villani; former train and subway boss Anne-Marie Idrac; Axelle Tessandier, who created a startup in San Francisco before joining Macron's campaign; and a string of former ministers in Socialist and conservative governments. Before their meeting, Macron said he wants a Europe that is both more conducive to investment and more protective of workers.

  • Leroy Wright