Emmanuel Macron’s first call after winning the French presidency was to Germany’s Angela Merkel, who “praised him for championing a united Europe that is open to the world”, according to the Chancellor’s spokesman.

Merkel’s government has been heavily criticised after triggering a massive influx of migrants into Europe by declaring that there was “no limit” on the number of people Germany would receive. Although her commanding position at the summit of German politics remains seemingly unassailable.

Macron has been a staunch defender of the chancellor’s policies, however, claiming her open invitation to migrants had saved Europe’s “collective dignity” shortly after a bogus asylum seeker from Tunisia murdered a Polish lorry driver and ploughed his vehicle into a packed Christmas market in Berlin.

The former Socialist Party economy minister’s closeness to the German leader had prompted his rival for the presidency, Marine Le Pen, to declare Sunday’s vote would result in a female president whoever won: “Either me or Angela Merkel!”

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