Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte on Sunday sent his congratulations to new French president Emmanuel Macron who took 66% of the vote in Sunday’s presidential election.
France, said Rutte in a message on Facebook, has made a ‘clear, progressive and pro-European choice’.
Macron is a ‘choice for working together within Europe where necessary’ rather than taking an ‘inward-looking’ stance, the Dutch prime minister said.
France and the Netherlands, he said, are trusted allies with strong cultural and economic ties. ‘I look forward to our meeting in the near future and to our cooperation in the coming years on cross-border issues such as migration policy, the battle against terrorism and ensuring a stable and prosperous European economy.’
Macron’s rival Marine Le Pen of the far right Front National took a record 11 million votes, compared with 6.8 million in the 2015 regional elections, but still failed to win the 40% the polls predicted.
Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders used Twitter to tell Le Pen ‘well done anyway’. ‘Millions of patriots voted for you! You will win next time – and so will I!,’ Wilders said.
Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV won 20 out of 150 seats in the Dutch general in March, narrowly making the party the second biggest in parliament.
After Rutte’s victory in March, Macron himself had commented: ‘I do believe that Mark Rutte just highlighted the fact that, when you deliver the clear speech, when you explain what you do, what your constraints are in your country, you can defeat the extremes.’
In an editorial on Macron’s election, the Financieele Dagblad said the new French president – the youngest ever – is further evidence that voters are looking for a new vision and that outsiders are benefiting.
‘The political debate in many countries is sour, pessimistic and stagnating,’ the FD said. ‘Voters are worried about their pensions, their jobs, globalisation. Macron came with a vision of hope and winning the challenge, but did not promise too much.’
‘His biggest challenge now is to be an effective president and form a powerful coalition government after the June parliamentary vote.’