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France's Macron names conservative Edouard Philippe as prime minister

Merkel greeted Macron with a handshake Monday ahead of a military honors ceremony.

Germany, too, has supported greater defense cooperation, but not all European countries are on board - and it is not clear how such a new structure would work alongside US -dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Al Jazeera's David Chater, reporting from Paris, said Philippe is the ideal person for Macron and they share common ideals.

"We have been designated the leading opposition force in this second round, that shows a re-composition of political life", she said.

The two talked about the European asylum system, trade relations and other issues, according to Merkel.

Germany, which as Europe's strongest economy has borne the brunt of bailouts for weaker eurozone members, is not thrilled by this idea.

Appointing Philippe to the top job in his government ticked several boxes for 39-year-old Macron, France's youngest president, who took power on Sunday. Philippe's age reinforces the generational shift in France's corridors of power and the image of youthful vigor that Macron is cultivating.

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That the new prime minister was a member of the Republicans, the mainstream right, "is the demonstration that (the Republicans) can not symbolize an opposition worthy of the name", Le Pen said in a statement.

Picking him would send a clear signal that Macron hopes to attract other young modernisers from the Republicans to his new centrist party, La Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM), which will contest parliamentary elections in June.

By appointing Mr Philippe, Mr Macron passed over some loyal followers including Richard Ferrand, a former Socialist who was one of the first to join Mr Macron's cause previous year and is secretary-general of REM.

Ms. Merkel said she and Mr. Macron had agreed to "develop anew" their bilateral relationship and that their cabinet ministers would meet shortly after the French parliamentary election in June.

Breathing new life into the European Union is just one of a host of challenges Macron faces.

Philippe has a diploma from the ENA, a prestigious political university in France.

The new eurozone finance minister would also oversee this, which Macron calls an effort to fight "social dumping", when companies move work or workers to countries with lower taxes.

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But not everyone was pleased with Philippe's announcement.

Macron also urged a "historic reconstruction" of Europe in order to battle a surge of populism, after defeating far- right leader Marine Le Pen. Defeated by a Macron landslide, she denounced what she predicted would be a continuation of old policies, including "austerity, submission to Brussels, massive immigration".

Macron needs a majority or at least enough seats in parliament to govern or form a coalition.

"I told myself that the situation we were in was so unique that we should try something that had never been tried before", Philippe said on TF1 television later on Monday.

Cazeneuve was the final prime minister of former President Francois Hollande, Macron's predecessor, holding the job for five months.

"We will need a more efficient Europe, a more democratic Europe, a more political Europe, because it's the instrument of our power and our sovereignty".

In Berlin, Macron will push for deeper ties in the 28-member European Union to help it overcome the imminent departure of Britain.

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Macron is the conservative Merkel's fourth French president in almost 12 years as chancellor.



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