Macron win is ‘victory for a strong and united Europe’: Merkel

Berlin : German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman welcomed Emmanuel Macron’s resounding win in France’s presidential election today as a “victory for a strong and united Europe”.

“Congratulations, @EmmanuelMacron. Your victory is a victory for a strong and united Europe and for French-German friendship,” wrote Steffen Seibert in French and German on Twitter.

Separately, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel hailed Macron’s win for keeping France “at the heart of Europe”.

“Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite! France chose that today. The great nation was, is, and remains in the middle and at the heart of Europe,” wrote Gabriel on Twitter, using France’s national slogan which means “liberty, equality, fraternity”.

Merkel and her government had thrown their support behind Macron against far-right and anti-EU challenger Marine Le Pen.

But ahead of Germany’s own elections in September, Gabriel, a social democrat, also used the occasion to take aim at Merkel’s conservatives who have pushed a hard line on reducing national budget deficits.

Critics of the tough push for economic reforms have argued that such policies may have pushed some to the political extreme.

“What has to stop is pointing fingers at the French for doing nothing and not giving them a milimetre of flexibility in their policies,”he said.

“Maybe the conservatives in Germany now realise that 0.5 percent more deficit in France is really not as costly as if Madame Le Pen were president,” he added.