French election: World leaders congratulate Macron on victory

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

French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he arrives to deliver a speech after being re-elected as president.
French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he arrives to deliver a speech after being re-elected as president during his victory rally at the Champs de Mars in Paris, France, April 24, 2022 [Benoit Tessier/Reuters]

World leaders have rushed to congratulate French President Emmanuel Macron on his election victory over his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen.

Many in Europe described the outcome of Sunday’s vote as a win for the European Union as a victory for Le Pen, a deeply eurosceptic politician, could have had huge implications for the stability of the bloc.

For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Macron a message of congratulations, Russian news agencies quoted the Kremlin as saying on Monday.

“I sincerely wish you success in governance, firm health and well-being,” Putin said in a telegram, which the Kremlin posted on its official website on Monday.

Similarly, China’s President Xi Jinping congratulated his French counterpart, saying he would “like to continue working with President Macron to maintain diplomatic relations based on independence, mutual understanding, foresight and mutual benefit,” according to a readout from state broadcaster CCTV.

The Chinese leader added he has always viewed Chinese-French ties from a “strategic and long-term perspective”, saying the healthy and stable development of relations is increasingly important as the global arena undergoes “complex changes”.

‘Bravo Emmanuel’

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 French.

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

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

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 group or the euro single currency.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Macron’s re-election was “wonderful news for all of Europe”, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said French voters “have sent a strong vote of confidence in Europe today”.

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.

“The citizens have chosen a France committed to a free, strong and fair EU. Democracy wins. Europe wins,” Sanchez wrote. “Congratulations Emmanuel Macron.”

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

British 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.”

United States President Joe Biden also hailed Macron’s victory. “France is our oldest ally and a key partner in addressing global challenges,” he said in a tweet.

“I look forward to our continued close cooperation – including on supporting Ukraine, defending democracy, and countering climate change.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has spoken with Macron several times since Russia’s invasion of his country on February 24, congratulated his French counterpart by phone.

On Twitter, Zelenskyy called Macron a “true friend of Ukraine”.

“I wish him further success for the sake of the [French] people. I appreciate his support and I am convinced that we are moving together towards new common victories,” he wrote in Ukrainian and French.

The leaders of Australia and Canada also congratulated Macron.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Macron’s victory was a “great expression of liberal democracy in action in uncertain times” and said he wished the French leader and his country “every success, in particular your leadership in Europe and as an important partner to Australia in the Indo-Pacific”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 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”.

Source: News Agencies