Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, reacts as she speaks during the opening ceremony at the CeBIT 2017 tech fair in Hannover, Germany. (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

Merkel Backs Macron Saying He'd Make a Strong French President

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said France’s Emmanuel Macron will make a “strong president” if he wins the May 7 runoff election against Marine Le Pen, a prospect that she explicitly backed.

Asked whether a victorious Macron would have to prove that he’s not a “poodle” to Germany, Merkel called the expression “simply absurd” in an interview with German media group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

“I don’t have the slightest doubt that Emmanuel Macron will be a strong president if he’s elected, which I would wish for,” Merkel told RND in an interview published Friday.

The German leader has barely concealed her preference for the second-round contest in France, where polls suggest Macron will defeat the National Front candidate. After Macron won the most votes in the first round on Sunday, Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert lauded the candidate for his success and his support for a “strong EU” and social market economy.

Merkel said she expects the next French president to pursue national interests “just as the German chancellor would.” The German-French partnership is “indispensable” for Europe, she said.

Merkel’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, has already backed Macron, saying he’d “probably” vote for the former French economy minister if he could.

“He has great charm and he really wants to change things,” Schaeuble told a panel on April 11.