Thursday

19th Apr 2018

EU relieved by Macron's win

  • Merkel had endorsed Macron prior to the French vote (Photo: Emmanuel Macron/Twitter)

EU leaders have reacted to Emmanuel Macron’s victory with relief and with hope the French result will strike a blow against other nationalist forces.

Macron won by 65 percent on Sunday (7 May) against the nationalist-populist Marine Le Pen, who had campaigned to pull France out of the euro and possibly the EU.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The 39-year old Macron had campaigned on a pro-EU ticket, but also said he wanted to reform the bloc.

EU Council president Donald Tusk congratulated him on Twitter.

Referring to Russia’s efforts to interfere in the French elections, Tusk said: "Congratulations to French people for choosing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity over [the] tyranny of fake news.”

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told Macron he was ready to help “build a better Europe”.

"I am delighted that the ideas you defended of a strong and progressive Europe, which protects all its citizens, will be those that you will carry into your presidency in the debate about the history of Europe," Juncker said in a letter to Macron.

He added that he was ready to work with him to change the bloc.

"The European Commission has been working for two and half years to build a better Europe, a Europe which protects and defends our citizens and gives them the means to react,” he said.

The EU saw Macron’s win as a reinforcement of its project.

The French result came amid the start of talks on the UK’s exit from the EU and amid fears that populist movements elsewhere could pull Europe asunder.

The fact that populist Geert Wilders came second in the Dutch election in March had already given succour.

Macron’s win came as a fresh and a bigger blow to anti-EU forces.

With Germany and Sweden also heading for elections, it showed that votes could still be won via a pro-EU campaign.

But with one in three French voters choosing the far-right and with Macron facing another battle, in June, to build a parliamentary majority, it also showed that there was plenty of work left to do for the pro-European side.

Merkel on the phone

German chancellor Angela Merkel has also hailed Macron’s victory.

Her spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted: "Congratulations, Emmanuel Macron. Your victory is a victory for a strong and united Europe and for French-German friendship.”

Seibert said that Merkel congratulated Macron in phone call in which she "praised his stance for a united and open European Union during the campaign" and told Macron that "the decision of the French voters is a clear statement of support for Europe”.

Merkel ’s rival in the German elections in September, the former European Parliament president Martin Schulz, has promised to be more pro-European than Merkel on social issues.

He tweeted: "Congratulations, Emmanuel Macron. And now let’s build a stronger Europe together!”

Merkel has been criticised for harsh austerity policies during the euro crisis, but praised for her caution on deeper EU integration and for keeping Europe united.

Her centre-right CDU party also came first on Sunday in a local election in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, with Schulz’s Social Democrats trailing in recent polls.

British prime minister Theresa May also phoned Macron, who is expected to be a tough negotiator in the Brexit talks.

Brexit prelude

They briefly discussed Brexit, according to a statement by the British prime minister's office.

May "reiterated that the UK wants a strong partnership with a secure and prosperous EU once we leave”.

But pro-Brexit campaigner and MEP Nigel Farage highlighted that Le Pen still won a big chunk of the French vote.

“Euroscepticism in France has taken a massive leap forward today”, he said on Twitter.

Macron, during the last phase of the campaign, also warned that unless the EU changed, angry and disillusioned voters would try to drag France out of the bloc.

Macron wins French presidency

[Updated] The centrist pro-EU candidate easily beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, with 66.1 percent of the vote against 33.9 percent.

Interview

Macron's victory could be short-lived

If elected French president, Macron could be crippled by lack of a clear majority in parliament. If Le Pen won, her EU plans would be blocked by EU countries.

Anti-Macron leaks try to sway French election

Thousands of documents, some likely fake, were spread by WikiLeaks as well as pro-Trump and pro-Russia social media in the final moments of the French campaign.

Analysis

Macron, a new Franco-European monarch

The new French president mixed republican pomp and European faith in his victory celebration. But to succeed, he will have to start a revolution.

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  2. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  3. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  4. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  5. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  6. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  7. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit
  8. Merkel and Macron meet to finetune eurozone reform plans

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeParabéNs! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  2. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  3. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  4. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  5. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  6. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  10. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector

Latest News

  1. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  2. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  3. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  4. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists
  5. Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study
  6. Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission
  7. Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties
  8. 'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  2. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  3. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  4. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  5. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  6. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  7. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  8. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  9. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  10. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  11. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  12. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership