French President Macron heads to Berlin for his first official f


By Chandrika Narayan CNN

(CNN) — The freshly inaugurated French President embarked on an ambitious agenda on his first full day in office — naming a prime minister and then heading off to Germany on his first foreign visit.

Emmanuel Macron was welcomed with military honors by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Monday afternoon.

At a news conference, the two leaders made it clear that the French-German relationship was crucial to the European Union.

“I’m delighted that together, we will be able to work on a common shared road map for the European Union and the Eurozone,” Macron said. “… I hope very much in the weeks to come, we will be able to devise a common shared road map between France and Germany… We need more trust, much more trust and more specifically, results.”

The German chancellor said the two countries need each other to do well.

“Today, we talked about three areas and we will continue doing so later,” Merkel said. “Firstly, the current European political topics and about the directives the European asylum system, and also, questions of trade relations. It’s all connected with job creation.”

When Britain leaves the bloc in 2019, France will be the EU’s only member with nuclear weapons and a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Macron, 39, who was sworn in as French president on Sunday, is the youngest French President in France’s history and the youngest leader since Napoleon.

Macron has shaken up French politics with his meteoric rise to the presidency. He won his campaign as an independent, with the backing of a fledgling political party he founded less than a year ago.

The visit comes as the German Chancellor, who is looking to win a fourth term as chancellor in federal elections in September, celebrates a big election win for her party. On Sunday, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party overtook the Social Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most-populous state.

Macron names center-right politician as Prime Minister

The Macron-Merkel meeting came just hours after the French president nominated Edouard Philippe, the 46-year-old Mayor of Le Havre, to be his prime minister.

Analysts say the choice of Philippe, a man from the center-right Les Républicains party, was a move to broaden his appeal to right wing voters ahead of legislative elections next month.

Indeed, Macron, a former investment banker, will be counting on winning votes for his party from center-right supporters in that round of elections.

Although he won the May 7 election against National Front candidate Marine Le Pen with 66% of the vote, his party was only founded last year and has never held a single National Assembly seat. Macron’s party needs to win a majority in the June vote to have the mandate to push his legislative agenda through the French parliament.

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