French President Macron heads to Berlin for his first official foreign visit

New French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin Monday

Story highlights

  • Germany and France agree to draw up road map for strengthening the European Union
  • Earlier on Monday, Macron chose a center-right politician to be his prime minister

(CNN)The freshly inaugurated French President embarked on an ambitious agenda on his first full day in office -- naming a prime minister and then heading off to Germany on his first foreign visit.

Emmanuel Macron was welcomed with military honors by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Monday afternoon.
At a news conference, the two leaders made it clear that the French-German relationship was crucial to the European Union.
    "I'm delighted that together, we will be able to work on a common shared road map for the European Union and the Eurozone," Macron said. "... I hope very much in the weeks to come, we will be able to devise a common shared road map between France and Germany... We need more trust, much more trust and more specifically, results."
    The German chancellor said the two countries need each other for the EU to be healthy.
    "Today, we talked about three areas and we will continue doing so later," Merkel said. "Firstly, the current European political topics and about the directives the European asylum system, and also, questions of trade relations. It's all connected with job creation."
    The Deputy Editor of the Paris Match said Macron's early visit to Berlin strengthens the close relations between Germany and France, the traditional pillars of the European Union.
    "Going to Berlin was a smart choice because that is what he said during the campaign," Regis Le Sommier told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "He's a pro-European, and there were not many candidates that were for more Europe... It comes at a critical time because the leadership of Germany is in danger in Europe. And there is danger on the currency Euro as well, everything is really fragile right now especially after Brexit."
    When Britain leaves the bloc in 2019, France will be the EU's only member with nuclear weapons and a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
    Macron, 39, who was sworn in as French president on Sunday, is the youngest French President in France's history and the youngest leader since Napoleon.
    Emmanuel Macron poses with his wife, Brigitte Trogneux, at the presidential palace Sunday
    Macron has shaken up French politics with his meteoric rise to the presidency. He won his campaign as an independent, with the backing of a fledgling political party he founded less than a year ago.
    The visit comes as the German Chancellor, who is looking to win a fourth term as chancellor in federal elections in September, celebrates a big election win for her party. Over the weekend, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party overtook the Social Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most-populous state.

    Macron names center-right politician as Prime Minister

    The Macron-Merkel meeting came just hours after the French president nominated Edouard Philippe, the 46-year-old Mayor of Le Havre, to be his prime minister.
    Analysts say the choice of Philippe, a man from the center-right Les Républicains party, was a move to broaden his appeal to right wing voters ahead of legislative elections next month.
    Newly appointed French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, right, shakes hands with his predecessor, Bernard Cazeneuve, in Paris
    Indeed, Macron, a former investment banker, will be counting on winning votes for his party from center-right supporters in that round of elections.
    Although he won the May 7 election against National Front candidate Marine Le Pen with 66% of the vote, his party was only founded last year and has never held a single National Assembly seat. Macron's party needs to win a majority in the June vote to have the mandate to push his legislative agenda through the French parliament.