Macron Elected: Newspaper Front Pages Welcome More of the Same in France

Macron

The media establishment has given France’s new president a warm welcome – but hints cautiously at persistent challenges, the legitimisation of Marine Le Pen, and trouble for Brexit.

The French press, which swung overwhelming support behind Emmanuel Macron prior to the vote, was unsurprisingly positive about his election but emphasised the scale of the challenges the 39-year-old would face and declined to write him a blank cheque.

Libération, a centre-left outlet in which Macron’s former employer Edouard de Rothschild has a large stake, congratulated the newspaper with a simple “Well played”, with an accompanying back cover of Ms. Le Pen turned away from the viewer and captioned, “Well done”.

The venerable Le Monde, an afternoon newspaper which stands as one of France’s two so-called “newspapers of record”, along with Le Figaro, showed Macron walking through the shadows to his podium alone, with the headline: “The triumph of Macron, the challenges of the president” – a nod to the difficulties he will face at the helm of a country struggling with terror attacks a sluggish economy, and rising dissatisfaction with the EU.

The new president is on “every front page” in neighbouring Germany, where his victory has been hailed as a victory for the faltering EU.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a daily which passes as conservative in Germany, leads with the headline: “Europe has avoided the nightmare.”

Left-wing daily Tageszeitung struck a similar tone, claiming: “The clear victory of Emmanuel Macron is an enormous relief for France.”

Spain’s leading newspaper, El País,  was equally adulatory, running an editorial praising Macron for defeating “extremism” and urging him to “rescue” his country and “refound” Europe.

With much of the British media establishment also leant towards Macron during the contest, their reception was markedly less jubilant. The En Marche! leader took a backseat to stories covering domestic issues and medical breakthroughs in a number of popular outlets.

The Left-liberal Guardian ran with the headline: “Macron wins French presidency – but a country remains divided.”

The establishment Financial Times was less circumspect, opting for: “Macron sweeps to victory in French presidential election.”

The Daily Telegraph was more sober, acknowledging that Macron’s victory casts a “cloud over Brexit”, given his ardent support for the EU and hostility to Britain over issues such as the much-debated divorce bill and the (tangentially related) question of juxtaposed border controls at Calais.

U.S. coverage of the election lacked the urgency of the European reporting, for the most part.

The New York Times pushed the establishment view in its editorial, claiming that Macron’s election “was a victory of hope and optimism over fear and reaction; of a future in Europe rather than in resentful isolation”. But the newspaper also conceded that “the outcome was a watershed for [Marine Le Pen’s] party, giving it new legitimacy”.

However, the executive editor for the popular Fox News television network, John Moody, described France as having taken “the easy way out” by plumping for the establishment candidate.

He noted that “France that it has halted – for the time being – the slide toward populism that the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election began,” but added: “It remains to be seen if Macron’s France will satisfy those French citizens tired of taking orders from the bureaucrats in Brussels.”

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery

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