European leaders congratulate France’s Macron on election victory in EU sigh of relief

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) – European Union leaders had been fast to congratulate French President Emmanuel Macron for his election victory over his far-right rival on Sunday (April 24), reflecting relief at avoiding a political shock in one of the bloc’s most pivotal nations.

European Council president Charles Michel and the prime ministers of Belgium and Luxembourg had been among the many first to congratulate Mr Macron, adopted by virtually all of the bloc’s 27 leaders, after his win over Ms Marine Le Pen by a cushty margin.

“Bravo Emmanuel,” Mr Michel wrote on Twitter. “In this turbulent period, we need a solid Europe and a France totally committed to a more sovereign and more strategic European Union.”

After Britain’s shock vote to give up the EU and the election of Mr Donald Trump in the United States in 2016, the bloc was alarmed by Ms Le Pen’s probably explosive social and financial reforms, even when polls confirmed Mr Macron successful in Sunday’s second spherical.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the general public face of Brexit for a lot of Europeans, applauded the end result, pledging cooperation with Mr Macron and saying that “France is one of our closest and most important allies”.

France, a founding member of the EU, has been on the centre of efforts to combine Europe because the finish of World War II, even when such insurance policies have been divisive.

Having Ms Le Pen, a deeply eurosceptic politician who has professed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Elysee Palace would have had large implications for the steadiness of the EU, analysts and diplomats mentioned.

Ms Le Pen had lengthy flirted with the concept of leaving the bloc, though she insisted she had no “secret agenda” this time for quitting the EU or the euro single forex.

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, a French nationwide, supplied heat phrases for the pro-business Mr Macron, saying “strong leadership is essential in these uncertain times”.

The leaders of Sweden, Romania, Lithuania, Finland, the Netherlands and Greece, in addition to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, all reacted inside about half an hour of the end result with their congratulations.

“I look forward to continuing our extensive and constructive cooperation within the EU and Nato, and to further strengthening the excellent relationship between our countries,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned.

Pro-EU second ‘must be seized’

Echoing the sentiment of many, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner mentioned Europe was the largest winner.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who together with Mr Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is seen as forming a robust trio of pro-EU leaders, additionally mentioned the re-election was “wonderful news for all of Europe”.

Mr Scholz supplied continued Franco-German cooperation, which is thought to be the engine of European integration. Many leaders referred to Mr Macron as “cher (dear) Emmanuel”.

The youthful centrist is one of the bloc’s most pro-EU leaders, credited by many as having the imaginative and prescient to assist it stand as much as China’s rise and Russia’s army menace.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted his congratulations to Mr Macron. Mr Sanchez on Thursday wrote a joint op-ed in French each day Le Monde with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Mr Scholz criticising Ms Le Pen and urging individuals to vote for Mr Macron.

“The chance that there will be pro-European governments in France and Germany for at least the next four years must be seized,” Mr Anton Hofreiter, chairman of the Europe Committee in the German Bundestag, mentioned.

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