Emmanuel Macron’s first call after winning the French presidency was to Germany’s Angela Merkel, who “praised him for championing a united Europe that is open to the world”, according to the Chancellor’s spokesman.
Merkel’s government has been heavily criticised after triggering a massive influx of migrants into Europe by declaring that there was “no limit” on the number of people Germany would receive. Although her commanding position at the summit of German politics remains seemingly unassailable.
Macron has been a staunch defender of the chancellor’s policies, however, claiming her open invitation to migrants had saved Europe’s “collective dignity” shortly after a bogus asylum seeker from Tunisia murdered a Polish lorry driver and ploughed his vehicle into a packed Christmas market in Berlin.
The former Socialist Party economy minister’s closeness to the German leader had prompted his rival for the presidency, Marine Le Pen, to declare Sunday’s vote would result in a female president whoever won: “Either me or Angela Merkel!”
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) May 3, 2017
Consequently, the new president’s decision to call the German chancellor so soon after the result of the election drew scorn from social media.
An image of the En Marche! leader at the 62-year-old’s feet – said to have been photoshopped – was circulated widely on Twitter, with many users making facetious remarks about the closeness in age between Merkel and Macron’s wife Brigitte, 64.
Another elder stateswoman pleased by Macron’s victory was former U.S. secretary of state and Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who tweeted: “Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world. Defeat to those interfering w/democracy.”
Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world.
Defeat to those interfering w/democracy. (But the media says I can't talk about that)
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 7, 2017
Macron is an ardent Europhile, appearing on stage carrying an EU flag at a campaign rally and claiming that France was “a valley of tears” before the bloc came into being.
In February 2017 he promised: “If [the British] government decides to organise a Brexit, I will be pretty tough on it … because we have to preserve the rest of the European Union, and not to convey the message that you can decide to leave without any consequences.”
Macron's very first call was to Angela Merkel. Spokesman says she “praised him for championing a united Europe that is open to the world”. pic.twitter.com/2vxvzyatDP
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) May 8, 2017