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With Merkel and PM, France's new president wastes no time

16 May 2017

"We each represent the interests of our own countries, but the interests of Germany are naturally closely tied to the interests of France", Mrs Merkel said.

Philippe has been the mayor of Le Havre, a port city in the Normandy region of northern France, since 2010 and became a member of parliament for the region two years later.

The 39-year-old centrist leader laid out his ambitious plans for France as he took power on Sunday, promising to restore France's shattered self-confidence and help rebuild the flagging European Union.

There are 428 candidates vying for a position in Macron's new party in the June elections.

Philippe is a close associate of former prime minister Alain Juppe, who leads the moderate wing of The Republicans and has indicated that he favors helping Macron.

Mr Philippe is not a member of the president's new party - La République En Marche - but of the centre-right Republicans. "It (the Socialist party) is behind us".

It is the first time in modern French political history that a president has appointed a prime minister from outside his camp without being forced to by a defeat in parliamentary elections.

Philippe's age reinforced the generational shift in France's corridors of power and the image of youthful vigor that Macron is cultivating.

"French presidents are free to choose their prime ministers, but only if they hold a majority in the National Assembly", the Times reports.

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And just as Obama and Hollande met each other at two key summits in the United States in May 2012, Trump and Macron will meet in Brussels during a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit at the end of the month.

French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who won almost 20 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential election, also reacted with hostility.

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.

Reacting to Philippe's appointment Monday by President Emmanuel Macron, Juppe called the new prime minister "a man of great talent" with "all the qualities to handle the hard job".

When Mr Juppe was beaten, Mr Philippe switched his support to Francois Fillon for the French presidency but then quit the campaign when prosecutors started investigating allegations that Mr Fillon's family benefited illegally from taxpayer-funded jobs.

German media, including the influential tabloid Bild and news magazine Der Spiegel, have recently drawn attention to the danger of Macron's presidency costing Germany more money. She built a solid relationship with Macron's predecessor, Socialist Francois Hollande, despite their political differences - notably with their joint effort to secure an accord to calm the fighting in eastern Ukraine in tense talks in Minsk, Belarus in 2015.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the election of new French President Emmanuel Macron offers an opportunity to bring new dynamism to Europe.

The visit signalled Mr Macron's intentions to move rapidly on campaign promises to revive support for the beleaguered European Union by reforming and strengthening it.

With Merkel and PM, France's new president wastes no time