Macron appoints new French defense minister, reassigning former chief

Macron appoints new French defense minister, reassigning former chief

French president Emmanuel Macron has gathered his Cabinet for its first meeting - an assembly which looks significantly different to its predecessors.

New Sports Minister Laura Flessel arrives for the first weekly cabinet meeting under new French President Emmanuel Macron, Thursday, May 18, 2017 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

In the list appeared Sylvie Goulard, a centrist European Union lawmaker, in charge of defense affairs, Agnes Buzyn, solidarity and health minister and Muriel Penicaud, a minister in charge of employment issue.

Macron said he's relying on Tusk to "go even further in this work of re-shaping and setting in motion again a European ambition".

Macron on Monday named center-right politician Edouard Philippe of the Republicans as his Prime Minister.

A pro-European, German-speaking rightist, Le Maire came second to ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy for the leadership of the The Republicans party in 2014 and finished fifth in the right-wing presidential primaries previous year.

On foreign policy, Le Maire is a traditional Gaullist, favouring French national independence.

A star environmentalist Nicolas Hulot, was put in charge of ecology, and a publisher became culture minister - just some of the political newcomers Macron had promised to bring into his team.

FILE - In this Feb.17, 2017 file photo, then French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, right, listens to Gerald Darmanin, in Tourcoing, northern France.

Mr Macron, who ran a staunchly pro-European campaign, kept with tradition by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday in his first trip overseas after taking office.

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Collomb has spearheaded several major projects to revitalise Lyon since becoming mayor in 2001.

On Tuesday the new president was postponed his the announcement of his new cabinet ministers which was suppose to announce on Tuesday.

The 46-year-old MP and mayor of the northern port city of Le Havre since 2010, is close to Alain Juppe, the former prime minister and presidential candidate.

Four junior ministers also were named Wednesday, making the total number of Cabinet posts smaller by one-third than under Hollande.

The Defense Ministry may remain in the hands of Socialist Jean-Yves Le Drian to ensure continuity in French military operations against Islamic extremists in Syria, Iraq and Africa. He took his place to lead European and foreign affairs.

An expert on Europe, she has been a member of the European parliament since 1999 and was campaign director for Bayrou's unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign.

The 59-year-old Goulard, the new defense minister, is a pro-European centrist politician.

Goulard previously worked as an adviser to Romano Prodi when Prodi served as president of the European Commission - the executive arm of the EU.

Macron's office will announce the government lineup Wednesday afternoon, after a delay to dig deeper into proposed ministers' tax records and potential conflicts of interest.

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