Sobotka: France has rejected populism, nationalism and isolation

Emmanuel Macron, photo: ČTK

Czech politicians have for the most part welcomed the victory of Emmaneul Macron in France’s presidential election run-off on Sunday, with the prime minister and foreign minister among the first to congratulate the centrist candidate following his resounding victory over the anti-EU populist Marine Le Pen of the Front National.

Emmanuel Macron,  photo: ČTK
Soon after the En Marche! leader’s victory was announced, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, tweeted his congratulations to the new French president. He said he was glad that voters had rejected populism, nationalism and isolation, deciding for a France that would be a proud and strong part of the European Union.

Mr. Sobotka said Mr. Macron’s France had laid the groundwork for European integration and would be an important driver of continued European cooperation.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek was also quick to respond to Mr. Macron’s crushing win, saying that the French had not just voted for a president but for a European future. He said it was important at the present time that France play a strong and constructive role in the EU.

Culture Minister Daniel Herman said reason and responsibility had now triumphed in France, Holland and Austria, and expressed the wish that the same thing would happen in the Czech Republic.

The Czech president on Monday sent a telegram of congratulations to Mr. Macron. Miloš Zeman said he looked forward to excellent bilateral relations and invited the president-elect on a state visit to the Czech Republic.

The chairman of the Christian Democrats, Pavel Bělobrádek, said it was good news that a pro-European politician had won the closely watched vote. However, it remained to be seen whether Mr. Macron would understand the problems of new EU members, he said.

ANO chief Andrej Babiš congratulated the new French president, saying he had expected his victory. Mr. Babiš said, however, that Mr. Macron’s views on migration and further European integration were unrealistic and that he hoped the new French leader would be open to argument. In addition, Mr. Macron will find it very difficult to change France’s economic situation, Mr. Babiš said.

Photo: ČTK
Petr Fiala, leader of the right-wing opposition Civic Democrats, said Marine Le Pen’s defeat was good news. But it would be hard to rejoice over Mr. Macron’s win as he had not put forward a good solution to the EU crisis, he said.

TOP 09 MEP Jiří Pospíšil said he too had reservations over Emmaneul Macron. However, his convincing triumph was good news, as Ms. Le Pen would have broken up NATO and the EU, in Mr. Pospíšil’s view.