It was no coincidence that the music Emmanuel Macron chose to accompany him, as he walked in victory through the Louvre esplanade, was Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the official anthem of the European Union. [His] election was, first and foremost, the rebuttal of what could have been – for France, Europe and the west at large – a slide into a new dark age... the youngest French president in modern history, and a meteoric rise that slickly took advantage of crumbling traditional political structures. Macron won with a strong pro-European message of hope and reform at a time when the very word Europe has become almost a synonym for despondency. That’s why the choice of the Ode for Joy at such a solemn moment was an immense symbol... Anyone doubtful about the meaning of Macron’s victory should really reflect on what the world would look like if he’d been defeated on Sunday. French voters have stalled the national populist wave, and surely that’s not just a source of relief. Like beautiful music, it sends a universal message.
Natalie Nougayrède, Guardian 8 May 2017
The French president is uniquely placed to speak for Europe. If he reaches out to British people, perhaps the disaster of leaving the EU could be averted. This was the year France won and Britain lost. Emmanuel Macron emerged to transform a sclerotic political scene, dazzling the world and many in his country with a youthful energy that made French rejuvenation a buzzword. Macron has shown he can look beyond. Why not reach out to the British people in this historic moment? Why not say: we would like you to stay, we are not seeking to benefit from your departure nor to harm you, and we still have so much to achieve together? Why not say: some of the trends that led to Brexit, among them inequality and a broken social fabric, are problems France and others on the continent also have to deal with? Why not plunge into historical references in which the salvation of France was made possible thanks to Britain’s courage, and now, nearly 80 years on, show French courage in return? ... Many Britons may well just shrug. But some may also rethink, and feel that maybe Brexit doesn’t have to happen.For Europe’s sake, Emmanuel Macron needs help... A young, reformist French president who promised a “European renaissance” finds himself struggling at the helm of a country that is fast becoming “the sick man of Europe” again. It was a telling moment last weekend when rioters disfigured the face of a statue of Marianne, the republic’s symbol, at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Just three weeks earlier, world leaders had gathered there with Macron for the centenary of the Armistice. If the “sad passions” that Macron has warned of many times take hold in France, an entire continent will be affected – not just one man’s political career... Now the president looks paralysed at home, and the last rites could soon be read over his European plans. Just as a weakened Merkel didn’t do much to help Macron in relaunching the European project, a weakened Macron will now provide new fodder for extremists and populists across the continent... There can be no European democratic project or social justice without a European democratic France. Marianne’s face must be restored.
Natalie Nougayrède, Guardian 4 December 2018
"Needs help" ... what, a benison from Brussels? Or perhaps a batallion from the Bundeswehr? (if there are any left). For Europe's sake, eh?
**A perfect exemplar of Drew's 8th law of politics, BTW: a narrow victory is more significant than a landslide, which betokens little more than that everyone knew what the result was going to be and piled in behind the obvious winner.