French President Emmanuel Macron is finalizing his government lineup Wednesday and will meet with a senior European Union official as both try to keep the bloc from falling apart.
Macron, in his third day in office, will host European Council President Donald Tusk at the Elysee Palace for a private dinner. It’s 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 Macron’s office.
Macron wants European militaries 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.
Macron’s office is scheduled to announce his government Wednesday afternoon, after a delay to dig deeper into proposed ministers’ tax records and potential conflicts of interest. 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.
While French media speculate about who might make the cut, French websites are hosting games allowing users to create their own Cabinet from a motley crew of rumored personalities. They range from quirky to obscure to old-school: math genius Cedric Villani; former train and subway boss Anne-Marie Idrac; Axelle Tessandier, who created a startup in San Francisco before joining Macron’s campaign; and a string of former ministers in Socialist and conservative governments.
The Defense Ministry may remain in the hands of Socialist Jean-Yves Le Drian to ensure continuity in French military operations against Islamic extremists in Syria, Iraq and Africa.
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 — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and International Olympic Committee members.