Europe

Emmanuel Macron: What world leaders said - and what they think

Emmanuel Macron attends a ceremony to mark Victory in Europe in Paris, 8 May Image copyright Getty Images

World leaders have been congratulating Emmanuel Macron on a resounding victory in the French election.

But behind the routine promises of co-operation lie a tangle of relations, and hints at a tricky future. Our correspondents unpick some of the key international responses.

Double-edged sword for Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, by the BBC's Damien McGuinness in Berlin

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What she said: "[Macron] carries the hopes of millions of French people, and of many people in Germany and the whole of Europe.

"He ran a courageous pro-European campaign, stands for openness to the world and is committed decisively to a social market economy."

Behind the quote: For Angela Merkel a Macron presidency means a fresh start for the European Union. Not only because Mr Macron campaigned on an overtly pro-European platform - even walking out to the EU's anthem after his win last night - but also because he promises to reform the French economy.

The difficulty for Berlin is that Mr Macron also wants more mutual eurozone-wide support, which primarily means German taxpayers' money.

There is a growing awareness in Germany that helping the French economy will help stave off Marine Le Pen's anti-EU populism in France.

But Angela Merkel faces an election in September. So she needs to persuade German voters to pay out, without risking eurosceptic populism in Germany.

A boost for UK PM Theresa May? By James Landale, BBC diplomatic correspondent

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What she said through a Downing Street spokesman: "The Prime Minister warmly congratulates President-elect Macron on his election success."

The pair discussed Brexit, with Mrs May saying "the UK wants a strong partnership with a secure and prosperous EU once we leave".

Behind the quote: The election of the fiercely pro-European Emmanuel Macron may at first appear to be bad news for Theresa May.

He has described Brexit as a crime and made it clear he will offer Britain no favours in the negotiations to come. But his arrival at the Elysée may in fact be better news than some might imagine.

The prime minister will face a French leader whose position will be no tougher than his predecessor's. And she will not face the chaos that might have ensued if Marine Le Pen had won.

An EU that feels a little less threatened and a little more confident about itself might make a deal with the UK more likely.

Will Macron mean the blues or a boost for Brexit?

Macron bucks Trump's trend, by Anthony Zurcher in Washington

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What he said: "Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!"

Behind the quote: Donald Trump congratulated Emmanuel Macron in a very Trump-like way, praising his "big win". If there's one thing Mr Trump loves, it's big winners.

It's hard to believe that the president is thrilled with the results, however. Just a few weeks ago he had said French nationalist Marine Le Pen was the strongest candidate, who was tough on "radical Islamic terrorism".

A Le Pen victory would have been cited as evidence of a nativist movement sweeping the Western world, validating Mr Trump's election.

Instead the president and his supporters are shrugging off the French results and eying battles to come.

Setback for Putin, by Jonny Dymond in Moscow

Image copyright Reuters

What he said: "The growth in threats of terrorism and militant extremism is accompanied by an escalation of local conflicts and the destabilisation of whole regions. In these conditions it is especially important to overcome mutual mistrust and unite efforts to ensure international stability and security."

Behind the quote: The Kremlin would have been delighted by a Marine Le Pen victory. President Putin went out of his way to show his support for her in a late-campaign intervention.

Ms Le Pen threatened to tear up the EU order that has, to a greater or lesser degree, stood up to President Putin's intervention in Ukraine and seizure of Crimea. President-elect Macron, with his full-throated support for a reinvigorated EU, is not the Kremlin's pick.

President Putin has been around a good while now and is used to reverses. He was quick to congratulate the president-elect and quick to name security as a joint concern. He will continue on his path of sowing dissent and division in Europe. The election of Emmanuel Macron is a setback, but President Putin plays a long game.

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