Macron wins Merkel backing for bid to shake up Europe

The French president

German chancellor Angela Merkel and France's new president Emmanuel Macron vowed on Monday to give a new impetus to Europe, saying they were ready to even change European Union treaties if necessary.

"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.

France's new president received support from Angela Merkel yesterday in his bold ambition to push for the "historic reconstruction" of Europe to defeat the populist surge that has spread across the continent.

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.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is counting on June parliamentary elections to make her National Front party the leading political opposition force, and says she will be among the candidates running for a seat.

During their meeting, followed by a dinner in the German chancellery, outside of which people had gathered to cheer Macron, the German and French leaders also discussed issues like the posted workers directive, the reform of the European Union asylum system and reciprocity in trade.

"It will include projects that are not going to emerge overnight, but we share a belief that we should not only tackle Brexit but also think of the ways to strengthen the remaining European Union countries and the eurozone", Merkel said. And on Monday, he appointed prime minister Edouard Philippe, a centre-right politician like Merkel, who is said to be fluent in German.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel may have broken with protocol to back Emmanuel Macron's candidacy.

Macron wants to create a common Euro zone budget, parliament and finance minister.

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.

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

Macron addressed a source of German concern by saying that he had "never defended [the idea of] Eurobonds or the mutualisation of existing debt in the eurozone" because it would make some countries less responsible.

French President Emmanuel Macron has gathered his newly-named government for his first Cabinet meeting - an assembly that looks significantly different than its predecessors.

Macron said he will be an "open, direct and constructive partner" of Germany and also called for more "pragmatism" in bilateral relations. Some commentators pointed to the 2005 federal election, called by SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder after losing NRW, where Merkel squandered a hefty poll lead to win by just a whisker.

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