PARIS (Reuters) - The chairman of French gas and power group Engie said on Monday that centrist Emmanuel Macron's passage into the second round of France's presidential elections brought "hope for a rebound of Europe".
Macron, who favours a revival of the Franco-German axis at the heart of the European Union, won Sunday's first round ahead of far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who wants France to quit the euro, suspend application of the EU's open-border agreement and clamp down on immigration.
Engie's Gerard Mestrallet addressed former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at a signing ceremony in Paris for the financing of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic gas pipeline.
"We know, dear chancellor, how important the Franco-German relationship is for Europe," he said. "We can consider that the result of the first round gives us lots of hope for France and for a rebound of Europe."
"So do we," Schroeder said from his seat in the audience.
In the early 1980s, Mestrallet was an adviser to Socialist finance minister Jacques Delors, who later went on to become president of the European Commission in Brussels.
(Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Kevin Liffey)