France's new president moves quickly on first full day in office

Reuters

Merkel welcomed Macron's victory over Le Pen, saying he carried "the hopes of millions of French people and also many in Germany and across Europe".

The mayor of Le Havre since 2010, Philippe previously worked as a director of public affairs for French nuclear group Areva from 2007-2010 and as a lawyer from 2004-2007 with New York City-based global law firm Debevoise and Plimpton LLP.

Alexis Kohler, 44, who served as Macron's chief of staff during his stint as economy minister, was appointed on Sunday to the powerful post of secretary general of the Elysee palace, while former ambassador Philippe Etienne was named as his top foreign policy advisor.

The White House believes the 39-year-old French centrist-who took office on Sunday- and the 70-year-old U.S. leader are not as uncomfortable allies as it first may seem.

Juppe said he would be backing LR lawmakers in the mid-June elections, and not Macron's candidates.

Mr Philippe began his political life as a Socialist activist, before switching sides and serving as Mr Juppe's campaign spokesman during the Republicans party primary.

Cazeneuve, a Socialist, and Philippe, from the mainstream-right Republicans party, shook hands warmly. Macron previously met Merkel when he visited Berlin in March as a candidate.

The new prime minister has co-authored two political thrillers: L'Heure de vérité (The Hour of Truth) and Dans l'ombre (In the Shadows).

German media, including influential tabloid Bild and news magazine Der Spiegel, have recently drawn attention to the danger of Macron's presidency costing Germany more money.

"The right has just been annexed, with a prime minister taken from its ranks, from the Republicans", Melenchon said.

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The new president faces a host of daunting challenges including tackling stubbornly high unemployment, fighting jihadists and healing divisions exposed by an often vicious election campaign.

Republicans secretary general Bernard Accoyer said the move had created "ambiguity" over what political line Mr Philippe would follow.

Voters go to polls again in June to elect 577 National Assembly lawmakers.

His age reinforces the generational shift in France's corridors of power and the image of youthful vigour that Mr Macron is cultivating.

Reacting to Philippe's appointment Monday by President Emmanuel Macron, Juppe called the new prime minister "a man of great talent" with "all the qualities to handle the hard job". Philippe quit that cause when Fillon's campaign was hit by a financial scandal over publicly funded jobs for members of his family.

His appointment would be seen as an effort by the centrist Mr Macron to build a majority in parliament by drawing in politicians from the right.

As far as France's relations with the United States go, Macron is a true-blue proponent of trans-Atlantic solidarity, which he sees as a guarantor of European and global security, Sergei Fyodorov continued.

Merkel has praised Macron's embrace of European unity but has offered few concrete details about the way forward for German-French relations.

As well as deciding on the crucial figure of his first prime minister - which will send a powerful signal about his intentions - Macron has also had to grapple this week with the case of a problematic former colleague.

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