President-elect Macron gets a ‘very warm’ call from German Chancellor Merkel: Macron team
Nowhere has the victory of the establishment candidate Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential election been cheered more fervently than in Berlin and Brussels. Last night, President-elect Macron received a ‘warm call’ from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French news agency AFP reported.
“Congratulations, Emmanuel Macron. Your victory is a victory for a strong and united Europe and for French-German friendship,” Merkel’s spokesman said on Twitter. Merkel’s Chief of Staff Peter Altmaier was quoted saying “[Macron’s] success is a great opportunity for Franco-German friendship.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was delighted that the French had chosen a “European future,” and the EU Council President Donald Tusk congratulated Macron, saying the French have chosen “liberty, equality and fraternity” and “said no to the tyranny of fake news,” broadcaster France 24 reported.
Merkel had broken the established protocol when she endorsed French presidential candidate Macron less than a week ahead of the run-off. “I would be very pleased if Emmanuel Macron were to win, because he stands for consistently pro-European policy,” Merkel told a German newspaper.
A Le Pen victory would have been a disaster for Merkel’s European Project — to put things mildly. France is the founder member of the EU and the second-largest economy in the Eurozone. Merkel needs France’s financial clout and political muscle to silence opposition coming from smaller EU member states and carry forward her agenda of further European integration.
But it’s not just German political establishment and EU bosses. The German mainstream media was just a thrilled to see ‘their man’ moving into the Elysee Palace. Germany’s state-run broadcaster ARD described Macron as a French President who “loves Germany.”
“Macron’s victory in France is an affirmation of an open society and a united Europe,” German magazine Der Spiegel wrote. “The result is an affirmation of a united and supportive Europe that wants to assert itself in the global contest.”
“Naturally there is joy, and rightly so” German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote. “Finally someone who is clearly committed to Europe has won. Someone who does not use Brussels as a bogeyman. Someone who doesn’t flinches from flying the European flag. To the contrary: with Emmanuel Macron, a committed European has become the new President of France.”
After the [upcoming] German parliamentary election, the Franco-German engine will once again be set in motion. Experience shows that nothing moves in the E.U. without the mutual consent of Paris and Berlin. If Angela Merkel or [her social-democratic challenger] Martin Schulz get confirmed as Chancellor after the Bundestag election, than the new duo with Macron will actually make a real difference. [Süddeutsche Zeitung, May 7, 2017; Author’s translation, emphasis added]
Jubilant, but circumspect German newspaper Die Welt reminded its reader what a close shave this election has been:
The spectre of the extreme-right French President, who would have left the EU, has been chased away for at least 5 more years. The dreadful fall of a constructive Franco-German relation — and along with it the end of Europe — if Le Pen would have won, has been averted.
One can’t emphasise it strongly enough how narrowly the European post-war order escaped a collapse on this Sunday of May — eleven months after the Brexit decision by the British people. [Author’s translation]
Apart from the domestic issues, the French election was also a referendum on Merkel’s open borders policy for migrants. Le Pen summed it up correctly when she said that “France will be led by a woman, either me or Merkel,” at the last presidential debate.
Despite Le Pen’s efforts to rebrand her party, in the eyes of many French voters she was still seen carrying the ideologically baggage inherited from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen. However, Le Pen’s strong performance in the presidential election does break new grounds for the Front National ahead of the June parliamentary election.
Macron is the establishment candidate par excellence. Parachuted to the political stage by the establishment and special interest, Macron has no political standing or electoral base. Relatively unknown, Macron and his barely year-old party “En Marche” — roughly translated as “Forward” — only rose to prominence once the conservative candidate François Fillon’s scam- and scandal-ridden campaign nose-dived in the polls. Once Macron emerged as the last-man-standing against Le Pen, the entire French political spectrum rallied behind him for the sole purpose of averting a Le Pen victory.
Macron is the posterboy of today’s post-modern politics. French commentators describe Macron’s ‘En Marche’ as a ‘trans-partisan political movement.’ Washington Post welcomes it as the “politics organized around openness, pluralism and a transnational approach.” It’s the rudderless politics of collective virtue signalling — devoid of any sense of national character or destiny.
While no one in France really knows what Macron actually stands for, Merkel has embraced him as her man for the job. Perhaps Merkel knows something we don’t.
Video: World leaders react to Macron victory
[Cover image courtesy extra3, YouTube]
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