Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Germany, France agree to draw roadmap on developing EU

Germany, France agree to draw roadmap on developing EU

She said she was personally prepared to make the case for such a change.

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

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. But the two countries should first work on what they want to reform, she added.

The visit to Berlin continued a tradition of French presidents making their first foreign trip to Germany.

That conspired with doubts over Trump's economic policy and a run of weak data to dampen expectations of a rate hike from the world's biggest economy next month.

Berlin hopes to gain new momentum and support from Paris for reforms of the European Union in general, but particularly for the Eurozone. Germany, which has Europe's largest economy, has always opposed taking direct responsibility for weaker European Union countries' debts.

Pope Francis has sent new French President Emmanuel Macron his congratulations and a few words of encouragement.

Christophe Castaner, Mr Macron's campaign spokesman, said on Sunday this was the kind of tough choice that would have to be made in Mr Macron's inner circle now that the battle for the presidential Elysee Palace was won.

Like Macron, Philippe is a product of France's elite ENA college who once worked in the private sector and has little truck with the country's fraying left-right divide.

Alain Juppe, a former French prime minister, called Mr Philippe "a man of great talent" with "all the qualities to handle the hard job".

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Macron is also working Tuesday to form a government after naming low-profile, center-right Edouard Philippe as prime minister.

Macron, a centrist, has promised to include faces from the left and right as well as political newcomers.

His appointment was seen as a strategic move by Macron, who is trying to woo modernisers of all stripes to his new centrist party, the Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM), having already won over dozens of moderate Socialist MPs.

But not everyone was pleased with the Philippe announcement.

Voters go to the polls again in June to elect 577 National Assembly politicians.

Macron said France and Germany had come "at a historic moment in their history" and both have a responsibility to fight against populism and restore faith in the European project.

Speaking in Berlin alongside Ms Merkel, Mr Macron dispelled rumours he wanted to convert national debt into eurozone debt.

Britain and the European Union are preparing for negotiations on Britain's departure.

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

"Our relationship needs more trust and more results", said Macron, adding that relations between Merkel and his predecessor Francois Hollande, were not especially close or productive. The center-right parliamentarian has lived in Germany and is a fluent German speaker. "Macron comes to see the French soldiers but not us".

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