wnol.info May 24 2018

Support for Macron's party grows before French parliamentary election

May 24 2018, 01:28 | Irvin Gilbert

Support for Macron's party grows before French parliamentary election

French President Emmanuel Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo left walk together to attend a ceremony at the Paris city hall France Sunday

"My friend Emmanuel Macron was at the bottom five months ago, and now, he is president", said Schulz of the new French leader who took office on Sunday.

Picking him would send a clear signal that Macron hopes to attract other young modernisers from the Republicans to his new centrist party, Republic on the Move (REM), which will contest parliamentary elections in June.

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 they had "a common understanding that we can't just focus on Britain leaving the European Union".

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned such deep-reaching reforms would require treaty changes, which were "not realistic" at a time when Europe is hit by a surge of anti-euro populism.

At home, Macron started to shape his government by appointing relatively little-known lawmaker Edouard Philippe, 46, as his prime minister. The two leaders left unsaid, however, what kind of treaty change they might seek.

"More often than not, the subject of treaty change was a French taboo".

Travelling to the German capital to meet the veteran leader in his first official trip overseas, Macron used the opportunity to call for a "historic reconstruction" of Europe.

A large group of onlookers, some carrying European flags, stood outside the chancellery as Mr Macron arrived.

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Agreeing a "road map" for the future of the EU, the German chancellor and French president agreed to tackle nationalists across the Union and looked forward to major treaty change which would allow more significant integration between the bloc's members.

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

"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. "I am not in favour of collectivising debts of the past".

He also tried to show solidarity with Germany on the migrant crisis - an issue on which Merkel has pressed for European Union countries to work together - by saying that a common asylum policy was one area where Paris could cooperate with Berlin. "We need more pragmatism, less bureaucracy and a Europe that protects our citizens".

Bruno Le Maire, who served under former centre-right President Nicolas Sarkozy, has been named as Macron's Economy Minister, Nicolas Hulot, a well-known environmentalist, becomes Ecology Minister, the media reports added.

His appointment is a further blow to the Republicans, who have been trying to regroup after the presidential vote and prevent defections to Macron's camp.

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.

The government's goal of having 1 million electric cars on the roads by 2020 was meant to be underpinned by a buyer's premium of EUR4,000, but sales have been slower than expected.

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