Putin congratulates new French president in call

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 19, 2017

The European Union needs deep reforms, French President Emmanuel Macron said following his Berlin talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"And if in this process, there must be institutional changes and new treaties, we are ready", Macron said.

Mrs Merkel said the EU depended on France being strong, and that she and Mr Macron had a "joint conviction that we are not only going to deal with the British exit from the European Union, but we also need to deepen the EU".

Macron said "treaty change long used to be a French taboo", but that this would change now that he was president.

Mrs. Merkel's center-right CDU pulled off a big upset on Sunday in Germany's most populous state, North Rhein-Westphalia.

Party leader Martin Schulz had predicted a victory there would make him the next German chancellor - but the victory for Mrs Merkel's party will now give her a boost as she seeks a fourth term.

He also said that there was the need to implement significant reforms not only in the European Union but also in the Eurozone.

It is home to 17.9 million people, nearly a quarter of Germany's population, and is also the home state of Martin Schulz, the Social Democratic challenger seeking to deny Mrs Merkel a fourth term in the national election on September 24.

Macron said France and Germany had come "at a historic moment in their history" and both have a responsibility to fight against populism and restore faith in the European project.

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.

"Her room for manoeuvre is very limited - with her migration policy she has used up a lot of political capital in her own party", said a German minister speaking on condition of anonymity, referring to her liberal immigration policy that let more than a million asylum seekers into Germany since 2015.

Although Macron has delivered on his pledge of a cabinet of parity - only one of the top five posts, that of defence, has gone to a woman, the BBC report said.

Macron is also working Tuesday to form a government after naming low-profile, center-right Edouard Philippe as prime minister. She won over her coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), led by the former President of the European Parliament, who is staunchly pro-EU and federalist.

Some French political reporters said that Macron's office called their media organization to designate specific journalists who will be able to cover Macron's first trip outside Europe, scheduled in Mali on Friday.

For far-right leader Marine Le Pen, Mr Macron's rival for the presidency, the selection of Mr Philippe reflects a continuation of the system she hoped to break.

Mr Macron is the conservative Mrs Merkel's fourth French president in almost 12 years as chancellor.

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