France's Macron holds 1st Cabinet meeting; half are women

Ruben Ruiz
May 20, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to end the suspense over his first government on Wednesday after a 24-hour delay in unveiling what he has promised will be a new-look cabinet.

Other key figures instrumental in Macron's sensational victory in this month's election were given senior roles, with the Socialist mayor of Lyon, Gerard Collomb, named as interior minister while centrist ally Francois Bayrou becomes justice minister.

In his first speech in the ministry's courtyard Wednesday, Collomb said Europe and France especially "are being targeted by terrorists", noting that the terrorist threat comes from overseas, but is also "rooted in our territory".

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.

"We have a 39-year-old guy [as French president] with, however, good work experiences, and, above all, with a handsome mum who has taken him by the arm ever since he was a boy", Berlusconi said late Monday during a campaign event in Monza, near Milan. Goulard is a European Parliament member and strongly pro-European centrist politician who will champion Macron's push for joint European military operations. High-profile conservative Bruno Le Maire (Le-mare) was the pick for the Finance Ministry.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, whom Macron named on Monday, will lead the government, at least until the parliamentary elections scheduled for June.

Baroin reacted sharply to a suggestion that Macron, a 39-year-old ex-banker who served briefly as economy minister in a Socialist government, was reshaping politics. Nicolas Hulot, the well-known host of a television show focusing on nature and the environment, was named minister for environment transition.

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The new government is expected to be half women, and with about half the number of ministers former president Francois Hollande's cabinet had.

Sideswipe: May 5: Well it is Ask Me Anything. Macron has pledged to fight corruption after tax evasion and other scandals hit the previous government.

Speaking with European Council President Donald Tusk by his side, Macron said Wednesday night that he's advocating "a less bureaucratic and a more political Europe".

On his second full day in office, French President Emmanuel Macron has met with the United Nations secretary-general for talks on global issues such as peace and security.

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

Macron campaigned on promises of cleaning up French politics, and says he will require ministers to sign a commitment to "integrity and morality". He has already met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel - his main European partner - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and International Olympic Committee members.

Other reports by GizPress

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