Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

New French economy minister to meet Germany's Schaeuble on Monday

New French economy minister to meet Germany's Schaeuble on Monday

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that the possibility of change to European Union treaties was "not taboo" and that he wanted to see better protection for Europe's workers.

Macron said France was "the only country that has been unable to tackle mass unemployment in the last 20 years", and promised to fix it.

Castaner said that Macron looked forward to debate and diverse viewpoints in his government, but that discretion and support for government decisions would also be required.

Hulot, who has previously turned down such offers, had "decided to go for it", provided certain conditions were met, the source said.

The announcement of their choice is due later today, a day later than planned, to allow for checks on the "tax status" of potential ministers and any conflicts of interest, the presidency said in a statement.

Macron has said half his ministers will be women and that some will be high achievers in business, academia, the civil service or the NGO world.

Based on a projection, Macron's party would win between 280 and 300 seats of the 535 mainland French seats in the lower house of parliament.

At the press conference with Merkel, he said he would have a "heavy task", but that his agenda would be to reach economic, social and education reforms.

If Macron's En Marche! party receives "anything less than a decisive majority" in next month's legislative elections, "he could be forced to make individual changes or even completely reshuffle his cabinet to better reflect the makeup of the National Assembly", the newspaper says.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, outgoing Socialist defence minister and a close friend of ex-President Francois Hollande, was named foreign minister and minister for Europe.

On Wednesday, Macron appointed environmentalist Nicolas Hulot as his environment minister with responsibility for energy matters - a move that hit EDF's share price. As far-right and isolationist views have come to the fore in recent years, as epitomized by the election of Donald Trump and Brexit, Macron's centrist appeal may have halted a trend which had threatened to see the European Union unravel.

Macron, who trounced far-right anti-EU leader Marine Le Pen in the election, urged a "historic reconstruction" of Europe to battle the populism sweeping the continent and widespread disillusionment with the bloc.

It also needs unanimity among the 28 and that is impossible until Britain's departure is complete and the 27 set about their own future.

Merkel said they had "a common understanding that we can't just focus on Britain leaving the EU but that, first and foremost, we have to think about how we can deepen and crisis-proof the European Union, and especially the eurozone".

"More often than not, the subject of treaty change was a French taboo".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel officially distanced herself from the federal government's e-mobility target to have one million electric cars on German roads by 2020, the local media reported on Tuesday.

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