Merkel Says German-French Ties Poised for Rebound If Macron Wins

  • Post-Brexit EU must move ‘more quickly and decisively’
  • German leader offers further endorsement to Macron over Le Pen

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany and France will seek to reinvigorate the European Union if Emmanuel Macron wins the French presidency, her latest signal of support for the front-runner in Sunday’s runoff election.

Merkel, who is backing Macron over nationalist Marine Le Pen, said the remaining 27 members of the EU will have to make decisions “more quickly and decisively” as the bloc seeks to rebound from the U.K.’s exit.

“And if we’re concentrating on Sunday and hoping that the election goes as we wish, we can see that the cooperation between Germany and France will gain decisive significance in this context,” Merkel said in a speech to an industry club in Hamburg on Friday.

Merkel will make contact with the French election winner “very quickly” after results are counted on Sunday, government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin. The chancellor will meet outgoing French President Francois Hollande in Berlin on Monday to thank him for the close cooperation during his five-year tenure.

Polls show Macron, Hollande’s pro-EU former economy minister, leading Le Pen two days ahead of the election by about 20 percentage points.

As EU leaders prepare for exit negotiations with Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, Merkel said the U.K. shouldn’t be punished though the talks would be “extraordinarily complex and intensive.” Last week, she told the German lower house of parliament that some in Britain were harboring “illusions” about the outcome of the U.K.’s departure.

“The deeper one gets into the details of the talks, the more one realizes how interconnected and tied together we are in the European Union,” Merkel said in Hamburg.

— With assistance by James Regan

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