France's Macron holds 1st Cabinet meeting; half are women

French President Emmanuel Macron listens as Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo delivers her speech during a ceremony at the Hotel de Ville in Paris France Sunday

French President Emmanuel Macron listens as Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo delivers her speech during a ceremony at the Hotel de Ville in Paris France Sunday

French president Emmanuel Macron has gathered his Cabinet for its first meeting - an assembly which looks significantly different to its predecessors. In keeping with his promise of gender balance, Macron named nine men and nine women. Macron named a mix of prominent and un.

The Kremlin says the leaders of Russian Federation and France have discussed possible cooperation on worldwide issues, including the fight against terrorism. The Kremlin said in a statement that the two voiced readiness to develop "traditionally friendly" economic, political and cultural ties.

Macron's office says that the meeting, attended by the country's most senior military and security officials, focused on the operations of French armed forces overseas -mostly in Africa's Sahel region, Iraq and Syria. France remains under a state of emergency, and under threat from Islamic extremists, since attacks in November 2015 left 130 people dead around Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron appointed his first cabinet yesterday (17 May) mixing Socialists, centrists and rightwingers with newcomers to politics as he pressed ahead with plans to create a broad governing coalition.

Castaner, a Socialist who joined Macron's movement past year, said "our political background will not prevent us from working smartly for France".

Meanwhile, tensions have arisen over Macron's policies on media access, recalling similar conflicts over coverage of Donald Trump's presidency in the U.S. "It's not about imposing anything".

But Castaner said Hulot would have to stick to Macron's programme, adding: "A minister doesn't set conditions for a president or a prime minister".

"They're trying to make a consensus government in order to get things done, so for the moment I'll give Macron the benefit of the doubt", said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu. "That's an illegitimate interference of political power".

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"The world and Europe need more than ever France, and a strong France, which speaks out loudly for freedom and solidarity", Macron declared.

More than 20 French media organizations signed an open letter to Macron on Thursday night to express their concerns.

The new cabinet will meet for the first time on Thursday. Castaner said the closure wasn't aimed at controlling the government's image but rather was a one-time event because the ministers needed to take an official photograph.

He said the press will be allowed to attend the end of future Cabinet meetings and question the ministers in the Elysee courtyard starting next week.

Thursday's meeting was largely about getting to know each other.

Having already made conservative Edouard Philippe his prime minister earlier in the week, Macron's pick for economy minister was Bruno Le Maire, a pro-European, German-speaking rightist from Philippe's The Republicans (LR) party.

"The division and fractures in our society must be overcome", said the 39-year-old centrist who was elected on May 7 after beating the far right leader Marine Le Pen following a bitter campaign that was dominated by France's role in Europe and which blew apart the traditional party structure in France.

Having been an advisor and economy minister under Socialist Francois Hollande, Macron was accused by critics of being too left-wing during the vicious poll campaign.

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