The youngest leader in the G7, Macron’s win essentially consolidates the irreversible progressive consolidation of unity against a backdrop of disruptive elements.
With Emmanuel Macron wining the French elections, investment markets in Europe were in a celebratory mode.
Although polls had largely predicted Macron to sweep the polls, investors and European leaders were anxiously waiting for the results of the election campaign that has seen many surprises, to come to its logical end while fretting over the possibility of Le Pen pulling off an anti-EU, anti-globalisation move.
However, Macron prevailed, and like Napoleon he will be France’s youngest leader.
This development sent the Euro skywards to its six-months high against the dollar with Asian and U.S. stock futures touching a record high.
“Political risk in Europe has been considered as a major market theme this year. But in the Netherlands (anti-EU party leader Geert) Wilders lost in March. The French election is now out of the way,” said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
He went on to add, “And in Germany the ruling Christian Democrats are recovering. The political risks in Europe have receded”.
Macron’s win has brought a huge sense of relief to France’s European allies, despite the fact that Macron is an unknown quantity to some extent.
“I know the anger, the anxiety, the doubts that very many of you have also expressed. It’s my responsibility to hear them. I will work to recreate the link between Europe and its peoples, between Europe and citizens,” said Macron in an address at his campaign HQ that was televised live. “I know the divisions in our nation, which have led some to vote for the extremes. I respect them”.
Macron’s immediate challenge will be to secure a majority in the next month’s parliamentary election so as to push forward his rebranded idea of ‘La Republique En Marche (“Onward the Republic”).
Reinforcing the idea of Europe
Francois Hollande, the outgoing French President read the results as a sign that “confirms that a very large majority of our fellow citizens wanted to unite around the values of the Republic and show their attachment to the European Union”.
Echoing similar expressions was Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, who told Macron, “I am delighted that the ideas you defended of a strong and progressive Europe, which protects all its citizens, will be those that you will carry into your presidency.”
Macron also spoke at length with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. The two leaders could unify and reinvigorate the idea of a united Europe which is the heart of the Franco-German axis. Macron told Merkel he will visit Berlin shortly.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, congratulated Macron for his win. So did Chinese President Xi Jinping who has set his eyes on Europe.
Trump congratulated Macron with a tweet which said “big win”. He also said, he was looking forward to working with him.
Macron, 39, a former investment banker who held the economic portfolio under former French President Hollande has brilliantly portrayed himself as the man who could potentially revive France’s fortunes by recasting its political landscape.
“I’ve liked his youth and his vision from the start,” said Katia Dieudonné, a 35-year-old immigrant from Haiti who brought her two children to Macron’s victory rally.
“He stands for the change I’ve wanted since I arrived in France in 1985 – openness, diversity, without stigmatizing anyone … I’ve voted for the left in the past and been disappointed.”
Despite many attempts to derail Macron’s lead by hacking and leaking of documents, reminiscent of U.S. elections, Macron’s team managed navigated the issues deftly and landed him with a win.
What this means for France and Europe
Macron win is likely to boost the competitiveness of Europe’s open economy. His plans are likely to include cost cutting measures in public spending and a relaxation of labour laws and a greater focus on manpower training. He is also expected to gradually reform the pension system.
Being Pro-NATO and an European integrationist, Macron is largely seen as having orthodox views in defence and foreign and policies. He is unlikely to call for changes in France’s traditional alliances or reshape its military peacekeeping roles in Africa and the Middle East.