Macron carries hopes of millions of Europeans: Merkel

Emmanuel Macron leaves the Chancellery after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany on March 16, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (AFP, REUTERS) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday (May 8) that millions of Europeans were counting on the success of incoming French president Emmanuel Macron, and vowed to help the latter tackle unemployment.

"Macron carries the hopes of millions of French people and also many in Germany and across Europe," she told reporters, saying she was "very pleased" by his victory.

"He led a courageous, pro-European campaign and stands for openness to the world and decisively for the social market economy."

As France commemorated victory over the Nazis in World War II, Merkel said the two countries had "over the decades developed a solid friendship" whose preservation had become a "pillar of German policy".

"We, Germany and France, are facing many shared challenges and are working to lead the European Union into a secure and successful future," she said.

"We make an effort to coordinate our approach and take, when we can, steps together for the well-being of both our countries and the well-being of Europe."

She said she hoped and believed that cooperation with Macron would progress "in exactly this spirit". Franco-German cooperation was a "cornerstone" of German foreign policy, she added, but added that Germany did not need to change its economic course in response to Macron's election victory.

"I wish him and all the people of France the greatest success," Merkel added.

The German leader and her government had thrown their support behind Macron against far-right and anti-EU challenger Marine Le Pen during the campaign for the French presidential election.

She spoke by telephone with Macron just minutes after his resounding win Sunday and praised his commitment to the EU.

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