German leaders court migrants from Russia ahead of election

Freshly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are the new power couple leading the charge against anti-European populists and trying to put the struggling EU back on track, analysts say.

It has become unofficial tradition for French leaders to make Germany their first port of call after an election, but Macron's trip takes on more significance given the various issues afflicting the region, including the debt crisis, the migrant crisis, terrorist attacks, and the decision by the U.K.to leave the union.

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

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

Merkel said yesterday that Germany depends on a "strong France", while Macron attempted to ease German concerns that France will want Germany to pay more for European Union troubles. "Macron must succeed with his ideas, and we must help him in any way that we can", she says.

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron is set to unveil his cabinet on Tuesday, a delicate balancing act for the centrist who has promised to include faces from the left and right as well as political newcomers. While Germany's economy - Europe's largest - has been performing well in recent years, France's has stalled. But it's also because, in Mr Macron, Angela Merkel has a counterpart with whom she shares a desire to reshape the European Union following Britain's departure.

Merkel said that, from Germany's viewpoint, treaty change would be possible, adding: "I would be ready to do this, but first we will work on what we want to reform".

"Before thinking about reform of the EU, France has to restore its partners' confidence in it and provide guarantees on the budget", said Charles de Marcilly of the Robert Schuman Foundation.

The French President also called for a "less bureaucratic" European Union that "better protects" its citizens, and he categorically ruled out the so-called "eurobonds " n a proposal launched during the Eurozone crisis that would consist of combining debts among countries sharing the common currency, something to which Berlin is vehemently opposed. Alain Juppe, a former prime minister, called Philippe "a man of great talent" with "all the qualities to handle the hard job". A trained lawyer, he worked as public affairs director for the state nuclear group Areva between 2007 and 2010, before becoming a member of parliament in 2012, and then mayor of Le Havre in 2014.

"First we need to work on what we want to change, and then if it turns out it needs a treaty change, then we're prepared to do that".

French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who won almost 20% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election, also reacted with hostility.

Merkel has pressed Macron's predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy many times before for the changes needed to lift France's underperforming economy out of the doldrums.

Macron sought to bat away German fears on debt, saying he was opposed to mutualising "old debt" between eurozone countries.

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