Macron, Merkel Draw up Plan to Save Europe


France's new President Macron urges major reforms in EU; German Chancellor Merkel says Berlin open to EU treaty change.

Merkel told Macron "Europe will only do well if there is a strong France, and I am committed to that".

Germany, which has Europe's biggest economy, has vehemently opposed taking direct responsibility for weaker eurozone countries' debts. Macron said he spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week about getting more logistical support and said Merkel backs the idea.

In his first visit after his inauguration, Macron acknowledged the toll on the operation's French forces when he went to a military hospital in a Paris suburb and met with two soldiers injured in Mali past year.

To that end, Ms. Merkel said she would be ready to discuss changes to the European Union treaty to strengthen the bloc "if it makes sense".

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.

London's Evening Standard reports the remarks of a close advisor to Macron, who makes explicit the future dynamic he expects to come from the French and German leaders.

France's United Kingdom ambassador, Sylvie Bermann added Mr Macron wants the "reconstruction of Europe" and will work alongside Germany to achieve that.

Macron, on his first full day as president, was in Berlin on Monday (15 May) a day after he pledged to "relaunch" Europe at his inauguration, with a joint budget, parliament and finance minister.

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Macron, a centrist, was elected last week, defeating anti-EU, anti-immigrant candidate Marine Le Pen.

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

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.

By appointing him, Macron has passed over loyal followers such as Richard Ferrand, a former Socialist who was one of the first to join Mr Macron's cause a year ago and is secretary general of REM.

If Macron's En Marche! party receives "anything less than a decisive majority" in next month's legislative elections, "he could be forced to make individual changes or even completely reshuffle his cabinet to better reflect the makeup of the National Assembly", the newspaper says.

"The right has just been annexed, with a prime minister taken from its ranks, from the Republicans", Mr Melenchon said.

Germany is looking to Mr Macron to revitalise France as an economic power and political heavyweight in the European Union, which is facing complex divorce proceedings with its current number two economy, Britain.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, outgoing Socialist defence minister and a close friend of ex-President Francois Hollande, was named foreign minister and minister for Europe.