French President Emmanuel Macron is finalising his government line-up and will meet a senior European Union official as both try to keep the bloc from falling apart. Mr Macron, in his third day in office, will host European Council President Donald Tusk at the Elysee Palace for a private dinner.
It is a sign of the new French president’s determination to shore up European unity. The two are expected to discuss security and migration, according to Mr Macron’s office. President Macron wants European armed forces to join efforts and for eurozone countries to share a budget and tax rules. He has also promised a tough line on Britain as it negotiates its departure from the EU, to deter others from trying to leave after debt and migration crises that have eroded public support for the bloc.
Mr Macron’s office is scheduled to announce his government later on Wednesday afternoon, after a delay to dig deeper into proposed ministers’ tax records and potential conflicts of interest. President Macron has pledged to fight corruption after tax evasion and other scandals hit the previous government. After the independent Macron trounced establishment parties in the presidential election, the government is expected to be carefully balanced between left and right, women and men, new faces and political heavyweights.
President Macron is expected to visit French troops in Africa later this week. He has already met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel – his main European partner – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and International Olympic Committee members.