But academics warn that Mr Macron might be the exception, not the rule. More than 11 weeks since the Bundestag poll, Ms Merkel has still failed to form a government, and may face repeat elections. It is not the most stable of foundations on which to build an effective defence of the EU’s liberal values.
Meanwhile, nativist ideas are continuing to infiltrate mainstream politics throughout Europe. Some warn that, as migratory pressures grow, the EU’s unity could come under threat.
“Many have misjudged the French presidential outcome, when in reality all the facts are pointing in the other direction,” says Patrick Moreau, a Berlin-based researcher at Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, a French state research institute. He identifies the 2015 refugee crisis as the turning point. “Since then, immigration and its perceived threat to national identity have been key factors to understand shifts in European politics,” adds Mr Moreau.