New French prime minister took job because of 'unique' situation

France's new President Emmanuel Macron named Edouard Philippe, a little-known centre-right mayor, as prime minister yesterday, in his first major decision since taking power on a promise to lead a French "renaissance".

He is also slated to travel to Germany later on Monday to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Victorious presidential election the new head of state has appointed Édouard Philippe Prime Minister.

She added that she hoped for a "new dynamism" in German-French relations, saying that "Europe will only do well if there is a strong France, and I am committed to that".

Germany and France have traditionally been the motor of European integration, but the relationship has become increasingly lopsided over recent years as France struggled economically.

Macron is the conservative Merkel's fourth French president in almost 12 years as chancellor. Some media have dubbed the pair "Merkron" - a reference to the "Merkozy" moniker used for Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, France's conservative leader from 2007-12.

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

Macron made clear his determination to tackle his country's problems.

In his first speech in the ministry's courtyard Wednesday, Collomb said Europe and France especially "are being targeted by terrorists", noting that the terrorist threat comes from overseas, but is also "rooted in our territory".

It is the first time in modern French political history that a president has appointed a prime minister from outside his camp without being forced to by a defeat in parliamentary elections.

The mayor of Le Havre since 2010, Philippe previously worked as a director of public affairs for French nuclear group Areva from 2007-2010 and as a lawyer from 2004-2007 with New York City-based global law firm Debevoise and Plimpton LLP.

Former French Prime Minister Alain Juppe and outgoing Interior Minister Matthias Fekl wished Philippe luck, the letter stressing that he wished Philippe to succeed despite their political differences.

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

Macron's newly created party REM has invited others to join and since Philippe is inducted into it, it may attract the other Republicans to join leaving aside the traditional parties which is seen as a new ear in the French Politics.

The populist Le Pen said her National Front party is now the only "true opposition" for June legislative elections.

The pair said they are both prepared even to implement treaty changes if needed.

Merkel said that, from Germany's viewpoint, it would be possible to change European Union treaties, adding: "I would be ready to do this, but first we will work on what we want to reform".

"I have never ... advocated what people call eurobonds", the former investment banker and finance minister said.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said it's drafting a paper outlining renewed Franco-German push on security, investment and cooperation in the 19-member euro area, ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said.

"I will always be a frank, direct and constructive partner, because I think the success of our two countries is deeply linked, and that the whole success of Europe depends on that", Macron said.

"Of course, this magic only remains if there are results", she added. "We have full confidence in the president that he knows what to do, that he'll present it to us".

  • Julie Sanders