German leaders court migrants from Russia ahead of election

European Council President Donald Tusk

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.

And Merkel hailed Macron's win in France saying that he carried "the hopes of millions" in Europe.

This year, unemployment in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, should be around 4.0 percent, compared with 9.9 percent in France, according to the latest European Commission forecasts.

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, on French President Emmanuel Macron's proposed reforms for the euro zone. "Macron!" and waving European flags.

The French president underlined that changes to European Union treaties had been a taboo for France in the past, but this would not be the case in the future.

Several ministers, including Le Maire, have said they will stand in the parliamentary election, and Philippe confirmed that they would have to quit the government if they lost.

Macron sought to allay concerns among German conservatives that he could push for the eurozone to develop into a "transfer union" in which Germany is asked to bankroll other states. She added: "Germany's future lies in Europe".

The visit to Germany marked Macron's first foreign trip after his inauguration on Sunday, continuing a tradition of French presidents making their first Global trip to Germany.

"The starting point for some Germans is, 'Why should we pay the French to do what they should have done 10 years ago?' But they also know they need some help running Europe".

On Macron's first official visit to Berlin just 24 hours after being inaugurated, both leaders on Monday expressed their commitment to do everything they can to improve the rapport between the two capitals to, in Macron's words, achieve an "historic new foundation" for the EU, Efe news reported.

Pictures from inside the Elysee Palace showed Macron smiling as he sat across the table from Edouard Philippe, his centre-right pick for premier, at the centre of the 22-strong ministerial team he appointed the previous afternoon.

He is also relatively unknown to voters, fulfilling Mr Macron's campaign promise to repopulate French politics with new faces.

A Harris Interactive poll found Macron's Republic on the Move party, together with allies, set to win the largest share of the vote in the first round of the National Assembly elections on June 11.

But the proposals have sent alarm bells ringing in Berlin, and initial relief about his victory against far-right leader Marine Le Pen have also given way to fears about his reform plans.

By appointing him, Macron has passed over loyal followers such as Richard Ferrand, a former Socialist who was one of the first to join Mr Macron's cause past year and is secretary general of REM.

For his part, Mr. Macron is asking Ms. Merkel to pool eurozone government funds into a shared budget that could be used to support members of the currency area in economic distress.

Le Drian is expected to be the only survivor from Francois Hollande's little-loved Socialist government.



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