World leaders were quick to congratulate French President Emmanuel Macron for his election victory over his far-right rival on Sunday, some reflecting relief at avoiding a political shock in one of the European Union’s most pivotal countries.
European Council President Charles Michel, as well as the prime ministers of Belgium and Luxembourg, were among the first to congratulate Macron, followed by almost all of the bloc’s 27 leaders, after his win over Marine Le Pen by a comfortable margin.
“Bravo Emmanuel,” 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.”
Chaleureux bravo cher @EmmanuelMacron
En cette période tourmentée, nous avons besoin d’une Europe solide et d’une France totalement engagée pour une Union européenne plus souveraine et plus stratégique.
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) April 24, 2022
Belgium’s Alexander De Croo and Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel also quickly posted congratulations on Twitter. With Michel, the two are all centrist allies of Macron.
After Britain’s surprise vote to quit the EU and the election of Donald Trump in the United States in 2016, the bloc was alarmed by Le Pen’s potentially explosive social and economic reforms, even if polls showed Macron winning in Sunday’s second round.
France, a founding member of the EU, has been at the centre of efforts to integrate Europe since the end of World War II, even if such policies have been divisive.
Having Le Pen, a deeply eurosceptic politician who has professed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Élysée Palace 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 bloc, although she insisted she had no “secret agenda” this time for quitting the EU or the euro single currency.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, a French national, offered warm words for the pro-business Macron, saying “strong leadership is essential in these uncertain times”.
The leaders of Sweden, Romania, Lithuania, Finland, the Netherlands, Ireland and Greece, as well as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen all reacted within about 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.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also took to Twitter, “congratulating” Macron, saying he looks “forward to continuing to work together”.
Congratulations to @EmmanuelMacron on your re-election as President of France. France is one of our closest and most important allies. I look forward to continuing to work together on the issues which matter most to our two countries and to the world.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 24, 2022
Pro-EU moment ‘must be seized’
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said French voters “have sent a strong vote of confidence in Europe today. I am happy that we will continue our good cooperation”.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who along with Macron and Scholz is seen as forming a powerful trio of pro-EU leaders, also said the re-election was “wonderful news for all of Europe”.
Many leaders referred to Macron as “cher (dear) Emmanuel”.
The youthful centrist is one of the bloc’s most pro-EU leaders, credited by many as having the vision to help it stand up to China’s rise and Russia’s military threat.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted his congratulations to Macron: “The citizens have chosen a France committed to a free, strong and fair EU. Democracy wins. Europe wins.” Sanchez on Thursday wrote a joint op-ed in French daily Le Monde with Portugal’s Antonio Costa and Scholz criticising Le Pen and urging people to vote for Macron.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said France had chosen “liberal democracy over the far right”. Uniting the French and “taking courageous decisions for the climate”, were important tasks ahead, he added, calling for closer cooperation in Europe and “unity against authoritarian forces and war”.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky also congratulated Macron on his re-election, calling the French president a “true friend”.
“I wish Emmanuel Macron new successes for the benefit of the French people,” Zelensky tweeted in French early Monday. “I appreciate the support of France and I am convinced: we are stepping together to new common victories! To a strong and united Europe!”
Outside of Europe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among the first to congratulate Macron, saying he was “looking forward to continuing our work together on the issues that matter most to people in Canada and France – from defending democracy, to fighting climate change, to creating good jobs and economic growth for the middle class”.
US President Joe Biden joined in the congratulations later Sunday, calling France a “key partner in addressing global challenges”.
“I look forward to our continued close cooperation – including on supporting Ukraine, defending democracy, and countering climate change,” Biden tweeted.
Congratulations to @EmmanuelMacron on his re-election. France is our oldest ally and a key partner in addressing global challenges. I look forward to our continued close cooperation — including on supporting Ukraine, defending democracy, and countering climate change.
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 24, 2022
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also congratulated Macron. “We look forward to continuing close cooperation with France on global challenges, underpinning our long and enduring Alliance and friendship,” he wrote on Twitter.
Modi congratulates ‘my friend’ Macron
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated his “friend” Macron and said he looked forward to continuing work together to deepen the India-France strategic partnership.
Reporting from New Delhi, FRANCE 24’s Navodita Kumari said Modi and Macron have a close relationship and have met at least six times, with the Indian leader scheduled to visit France in early May.
For India, France is an important ally in the EU, one that plays a critical role in shaping EU policy, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, where India is looking for help to counter its giant and hostile neighbour, China, explained Kumari.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also welcomed Macron’s election and said he looked forward to working with the French leader in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Another great expression of liberal democracy in action in uncertain times. We wish you & France every success, in particular your leadership in Europe and as an important partner to Australia in the Indo-Pacific,” said Morrison on Twitter.
Congratulations Emmanuel Macron on your re-election as President. Another great expression of liberal democracy in action in uncertain times. We wish you & France every success, in particular your leadership in Europe and as an important partner to Australia in the Indo-Pacific.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 25, 2022
African leaders welcome Macron’s ‘brilliant re-election’
Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba hailed Macron’s “brilliant re-election” in online comments. “More than a shared past, our two countries have a future to build,” said the leader of the oil-rich former French colony.
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara sent Macron his “warm congratulations” in a Facebook post, saying he looked forward to “continuing with him to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and France”.
And Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum tweeted: “I welcome the brilliant re-election of Emmanuel Macron. His experience of international issues in general and the Sahel in particular makes him a valuable partner for us in our fight against terrorism.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)