EU leaders congratulate Macron for French election victory


European stability was the focus of many of the congratulatory messages sent to President Macron after his re-election.

European Union leaders quickly congratulated French President Emmanuel Macron on his election victory over his far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

Though polls predicted Macron winning Sunday’s second round of the French presidential election, the experience of Britain’s surprise vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump in the United States in 2016 had some concerned about the possibility of an election upset.

A victory for Le Pen, a deeply eurosceptic politician who has professed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, would have had huge implications for the stability of the EU, analysts and diplomats said.

Le Pen had long flirted with the idea of leaving the EU, although she insisted during her campaign that she had no “secret agenda” this time for quitting the bloc or the euro single currency.

European stability was the focus of many of the congratulatory messages sent to Macron.

“Bravo Emmanuel”, European Council President Charles Michel wrote in a tweet.

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

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Macron’s re-election was “wonderful news for all of Europe”.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner also said Europe was the biggest winner from Macron’s victory.

The leaders of Sweden, Romania, Lithuania, Finland, the Netherlands and Greece, as well as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, all reacted within half an hour of the 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 said.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted his congratulations to Macron.

Sanchez on Thursday wrote a joint opinion piece in French daily newspaper Le Monde, with Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, criticising Le Pen and urging people to vote for Macron.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the public face of Brexit for many Europeans, applauded the result, pledging cooperation with Macron and saying: “France is one of our closest and most important allies”.

Not everyone shared in the celebrations.

Riot police charged and sprayed tear gas on demonstrators in central Paris protesting Macron’s re-election, footage from social media showed.

The crowd of mostly young people had gathered in the central neighbourhood of Chatelet to protest Macron’s victory, according to Reuters news agency.

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