German, French leaders vow to rebuild EU

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left), welcomed new French President Emmanuel Macron (right) to Berlin for talks on the European Union. The pair confirmed that in order to secure the future integrity of the bloc, they are willing to draw up new treaties to allow for deeper integration and facilitate widespread reform.

A pro-European, German-speaking rightist, Le Maire came second to ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy for the leadership of The Republicans party in 2014 and finished fifth in the right-wing presidential primaries previous year.

A source close to Mr Macron had said before the meeting he would seek to convince Ms Merkel to back his "protection agenda" for Europe which includes a "Buy European Act" and regulations to prevent strategic firms from falling into non-European hands. "Macron!" and waving European flags.

In keeping with his promise of gender balance, Mr Macron named nine men and nine women to his 18 person cabinet. The center-right parliamentarian has lived in Germany and is a fluent German speaker.

"There will be more convergence, firstly between France and Germany, and we think France and Germany should play the role of the engine".

The visit to Berlin continued a tradition of French presidents making their first foreign trip to Germany. Germany will only do well in the long run if Europe does well.

But Castaner said Hulot would have to stick to Macron's programme, adding: "A minister doesn't set conditions for a president or a prime minister".

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The poll shows that despite his comfortable 66-34 percent victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the May 7 election, Macron still has to convince many voters of his ability to confront France's social and economic problems.

And Merkel hailed Macron's win in France saying that he carried "the hopes of millions" in Europe.

"Emmanuel Macron made the commitment during the campaign to immediately go and see troops engaged in the fight against terrorism", said a senior French diplomat.

Several ministers, including Le Maire, have said they will stand in the parliamentary election, and Philippe confirmed that they would have to quit the government if they lost. While politicians have previously suggested similar ideas, it was thought that the need to rewrite European treaties would stymie these options.

Underlining concerns over Macron's proposals, Germany's biggest selling daily Bild warned that before seeking deeper European Union integration, "France must once again be at the same level as Germany politically and economically".

"If we can answer the questions of why, what for and explain the usefulness of such changes, then Germany would be ready for that anyway", she said, adding that she had briefly discussed this with Macron during the meeting.

Rightwing Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said today that the government had been chosen to last and was "in line with the political renewal that we are in the process of putting in place".

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