French president Macron set to meet EU leader Tusk

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

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

France's newly inaugurated President Emmanuel Macron unveiled his Cabinet on Wednesday, with women filling half of the 22 positions as promised.

The 69-year-old from northwest Brittany, who backed former cabinet colleague Macron for president, is one of only two ministers to be kept on - a reward for his support which helped paper over Macron's lack of global experience.

Socialist Jean-Yves Le Drian (John-Eve Le DREE-on) was named foreign minister and prominent centrist Francois Bayrou (Frans-WA Bey-ROO) as justice minister.

In another nod to the importance of Europe for Macron, Sylvie Goulard, a centrist lawmaker in the European Parliament who speaks four languages and is better known in Brussels than in Paris, was named defence minister.

From the right-wing, Bruno Le Maire, a pro-European, was picked as economy minister. To that end, Mr Nicolas Hulot, an environmentalist, was picked as ecology minister.

They range from quirky to obscure to old-school: math genius Cedric Villani; former train and subway boss Anne-Marie Idrac; Axelle Tessandier, who created a startup in San Francisco before joining Macron's campaign; and a string of former ministers in Socialist and conservative governments.

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.

Berlusconi was speaking at an event in Monza in support of the Forza Italia candidate for mayor, and discussing the French election when he came up with his latest "joke".

"They're trying to make a consensus government in order to get things done, so for the moment I'll give Macron the benefit of the doubt", said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu.

Do not be fooled, almost one-third of all French voters opted for everything that their new president is not.

Emmanuel Macron became France's youngest-ever president on Sunday, promising at his inauguration to restore the country's lost confidence and relaunch the flagging European Union.

The announcement will be made at 1300 GMT.

He is eyeing parliamentary elections in June when he hopes his new Republique En Marche (REM) party will win a majority, giving him the freedom to enact his ambitious reform programme.

A source close to Macron said he would seek to convince Merkel to back his "protection agenda" for Europe which includes a "Buy European Act" and regulations to prevent strategic firms from falling into non-European hands. When Juppe was beaten, Philippe switched his support to Francois Fillon for the French presidency but then quit the campaign when prosecutors started investigating allegations that Fillon's family benefited illegally from cushy taxpayer-funded jobs.

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 wants European militaries to join efforts and for eurozone countries to share a budget and tax rules.

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