The outcome of the French Presidential election which saw the independent centrist, Emmanuel Macron as the winner is more than just a victory for supporters of “En Marche” across the French Republic; it is a victory whose echo reverberates across the globe, especially within the EU.
Macron won the election despite a recent major hacking into his campaign. The hacking which came almost two days to the election and largely blamed on Russia was an attempt to smear him in a similar fashion to Hillary Clinton in the heat of the US presidential elections.
With the results of the first round of elections resulting in a political earthquake for the “political establishments” in France as the two dominant parties since post-war France, the conservatives and the Socialists failed to gain the confidence of the French people. The second round appeared more like a decision for the French people to either follow the path of the Britons (who chose Brexit over EU) and the Americans (who chose Donald Trump, with a nationalist/far right campaign ideology) who digressed totally from the status quo ante or to follow a more liberal path. The French people chose the latter. However, the similarity between the US and the French elections is reflected in the choice of victors emerging outside the political establishment.
Emmanuel Macron’s victory came at a time populism and nationalism sentiments seem to be gaining ground in some EU member states. With the election between Le Pen the far right candidate who is both anti-EU and anti-immigrant and Macron, a pro-EU and a liberal, the French presidential polls was in the run off a decision to either go for Frexit or stick with the EU.
His victory, therefore, marks a dramatic sigh of relief for the EU as an election which appeared to be another strain to the strength and sustainability of the EU has now cemented its strength.
EU leaders and pro-EU leaders across the globe have congratulated Macron and described his victory as a victory for France, EU and the world. Reuters reported German Chancellor, Angela Merkel through her spokesman congratulated Macron and described his victory as a victory for a strong united Europe. “Congratulations Emmanuel Macron. Your victory is a victory for a strong united Europe and for the Franco-German friendship.”
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker wrote on Twitter that he was “happy that the French chose a European future,” while president of the European Council Donald Tusk congratulated the “French people for choosing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity over tyranny of fake news.”
Democratic candidate in the last US Presidential election, Hillary Clinton through her twitter handle described Macron’s victory as “Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world”.
The excitement of EU leaders is a clear indication that Macron’s victory put a stop to an apparent storm that could have plagued the EU. As much as Macron’s victory appears like a victory for the EU, there seems to be a bumpy road in a stormy sea.