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

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

Trained as a lawyer, Mr. Philippe has worked in the private sector, including for French nuclear giant Areva and an American law firm.

The move is in line with Macron's oft-repeated view that the left-right divide in French politics is outdated, but may also be partly aimed at winning centre-right support ahead of June's parliamentary elections.

A German diplomat told Reuters Germany must decide whether it wants to continue its single-minded focus on budget rigour or work with Macron on joint ideas for Europe's future.

The 46-year-old's appointment was announced in a short statement outside the Elysee palace on Monday.

Merkel has praised Macron's embrace of European unity but has offered few concrete details of the way forward for German-French relations.

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

In keeping with tradition, the French president paid a visit to Merkel in his first trip overseas after taking office yesterday.

On Sunday, Macron said: "We will need a more efficient Europe, a more democratic Europe, a more political Europe because it's the instrument of our power and our sovereignty, I will work on that".

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The mayor of his hometown since 2010, the gritty northern port of Le Havre, Philippe was first elected to parliament in 2012 as a Republicans MP for his Seine-Maritime area.

However, after Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted centrist Emmanuel Macron reform his country's economy before seeking assistance from Berlin and other eurozone members, he appears to have backed down, according to politics news site Politico.

But, anxious to preserve a balance between the center-left and center-right in his nascent political movement, Macron has been less than welcoming towards late arrivals from the Socialist Party.

Mr Macron is France's youngest leader since Napoleon and the first to be born after 1958, when a presidential system was set up.

Past year he was part of Juppe's unsuccessful campaign team in The Republicans' primaries, and then joined the presidential campaign of Francois Fillon, the party's nominee.

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

Analysts say his appointment could convince other Republicans to support Mr Macron, who is looking to secure a working majority in crucial parliamentary elections next month.

Among names being bandied around for the top job in Macron's first government, speculation is mostly centering on Edouard Philippe.

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