In some other period in time, without the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the percentage of the popular vote garnered by Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the French presidential elections would have been interpreted as a triumphant victory.
However, it was not sweeping popular support for Macron as a politician that got him re-elected to a second term.
He owes his victory to the front that was formed by a diverse political audience against the populism represented by Marine Lepen in the elections.
For that reason, the resounding message of the French elections resonates far beyond the country’s borders.
Europe averted the worst possible outcome, a Lepen victory, because it chose not to listen to the (mythological) sirens of Euroscepticism and abstention, even if that meant that voters had to go to the polls holding their noses.
The democratic reflexes of the French people defeated a very alluring opponent, who exploited economic difficulties and geopolitical turbulence in an effort to win votes.
The French showed us how one can defeat the constantly burgeoning current of populism, not only of the far right, which seeks to impose a different way of thinking by capitalising on the rage and fear of citizens.
Let France be an example for a European Union that will choose the Macrons over the Lepens, and the Scholzes over the Orbans.
That will depend on how the victor, who is now the main player in the EU, handles affairs from now on.
The greatest challenge for Macron now is not to disappoint those who put their trust in him.