Change to European Union treaties 'not taboo' - Macron
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 23, 2017,
May 23, 2017, 5:43
Macron meets Merkel on first official visit as French PresidentIn Berlin, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed France's new President Emmanuel Macron, one day after his inauguration.
Merkel said the pair had a "joint conviction that we are not only going to deal with the British exit from the European Union, but we also need to deepen the EU".
A former economy minister under France's previous president, Socialist Francois Hollande, Macron is the youngest post-war French leader and the first to be born after 1958, when President Charles de Gaulle set up the Fifth Republic. "And if in this process, there must be institutional changes and new treaties, we are ready", Macron said.
Visiting Berlin on Monday, Macron "did not push for major, ambitious reforms (of the EU) because he knows the chancellor can not deliver until the elections in September", said Judy Dempsey of the Carnegie Europe think-tank.
Mr Philippe, a lawyer and the mayor of Normandy port of Le Havre, is also relatively unknown to voters, fulfilling Mr Macron's campaign promise to repopulate French politics with new faces.
After years of strained relations between France and Germany, Macron wants to reset the partnership to improve growth across the region and counter the populist fervor that triggered the U.K.'s exit from the European Union, helped Marine Le Pen achieve the strongest-ever election result for France's National Front party this month and powered the campaign of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands in March.
However for this to work, Macron would have to make domestically hard changes to France's labor costs and taxes, now among the highest in Europe.
In Berlin, the 39-year-old French leader urged a "historic reconstruction" of Europe to battle populism sweeping the continent, following his defeat of far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
In Berlin, Mr Macron declined to answer a question about his new prime minister, only saying the choice of Mr Philippe is part of the new political landscape he is promoting.
Pope Francis has sent new French President Emmanuel Macron his congratulations and a few words of encouragement.
As well as the political coup of poaching Mr Philippe from the right, Mr Macron is also siphoning off support from politicians on the left.
Some in the party have argued in favour of an alliance with Macron. His appointment as premier is a blow to the Republicans, who have been trying to regroup after the presidential vote and prevent defections to Macron's camp.
During his campaign, Mr Macron had thrown up ideas on reforming the euro zone, noting that the currency bloc can not go on as it is if it wanted to avoid falling prey to protest and populism.
The German-speaking father of three, who writes crime novels in his spare time, was elected to parliament in 2012.
Germany, which as Europe's strongest economy has borne the brunt of bailouts for weaker eurozone members, is not thrilled by this idea.