(Adds comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel)
BRUSSELS--French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday his new government is working "hand in hand" with Germany to build a European Union that can help protect the bloc's citizens.
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"We will work on the fight against terrorism, the topics of migration, the topics of defense," he said on arriving at his first summit of EU leaders.
"We are working hand in hand with Germany During the Council, we will speak with one voice," he said.
Mr. Macron said he wants to see the EU remain open on international trade but must "modernize" its trade defense instruments to protect the bloc from unfair trade practices.
France and Germany are pushing for the EU's executive, the European Commission, to look into ways that member states can better screen investments in sensitive sectors, such as national security.
Speaking a few minutes later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said greater Franco-German contribution can help the whole bloc.
"We will for the first time have the new French President with us," she said. "I look forward to the cooperation, I think that right now, creativity and new impulses from France, and also Germany, can do everyone good."
Laurence Norman contributed to this article.
Write to Natalia Drodziak at Natalia.Drozdiak@wsj.com
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June 22, 2017 09:24 ET (13:24 GMT)