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

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

Darmanin has been named Wednesday May 17, 2017 French Minister in charge of the budget in French President President Emmanuel Macron's first cabinet.

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron named a mix of prominent and unknown figures from the left and the right Wednesday to make up the government tasked with pushing through his plans to reduce labor protections, tighten European unity and boost military spending.

Sylvie Goulard arrives at the Elysee Palace Sunday, May 14, 2017 in Paris.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, 69, who led France's military operations overseas as former President Francois Hollande's defense minister, will stay on in Macron's government as foreign minister and also be in charge of European affairs.

A high-profile conservative politician has been named as France's finance minister in President Emmanuel Macron's first government.

The government includes 18 ministers, half of them women and half men.

France's outgoing defence minister was appointed to run a newly created Europe and Foreign Ministry on Wednesday and an ardent European took over his old portfolio, cementing President Emmanuel Macron's pledge to give the 28-nation EU new impetus.

It is the first time in modern French political history that a president has appointed a prime minister from outside his camp without being forced to by a defeat in parliamentary elections.

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Other positions were filled by ministers from civil society.

The government will be formally presented on Wednesday after Mr Macron's office delayed the announcement, initially expected on Tuesday, while authorities check the tax records and backgrounds of potential ministers, in an effort to prevent any potential conflict of interest.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he wants a Europe that is both more conducive to investment and more protective of workers.

That adds to the emphasis Macron has put on his role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces by his drive down the Champs Elysees in a military jeep on his inauguration day, his visit to injured soldiers, and his preparations to see French troops in Africa on Friday.

An advocate of closer European Union integration, Macron backs a "multi-speed" Europe, an idea that has earned growing support in Germany and other European Union countries since Britain voted to leave the bloc. A series of tax evasion and other scandals hit the previous government.

According to CNN, Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's National Front criticised Macron's Cabinet picks, saying he had brought back "personalities who have already significantly demonstrated their complete incompetence".

On his first foreign trip after barely 24 hours in office, Mr Macron met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday and pushed for more co-ordination among countries that use the euro.

Philippe Sotto contributed to this report.

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