Chancellor Angela Merkel had emphatically thrown her support behind Macron against his far-right, anti-EU challenger Marine Le Pen, aware that the very existence of the European Union was at stake in the vote.

Minutes after Macron’s win, her spokesman Steffen Seibert underlined the message, writing on Twitter: “Congratulations, @EmmanuelMacron. Your victory is a victory for a strong and united Europe and for French-German friendship.”

Macron shares Merkel’s commitment to the bloc, which has been deeply shaken by Britain’s decision to quit.

The president-in-waiting, who positions himself as a centrist, has also campaigned on the type of sweeping changes to the French economy that Berlin had long championed and implemented more than a decade ago.

During a visit to Berlin in March when he met with Merkel, Macron said they discussed “my willingness to reform our labour market, our education system and to have a sensible fiscal consolidation, an investment package for our economy and to respect our commitments”.