French, German leaders congratulate PM Rutte on election win

With the dust around the Dutch parliamentary elections starting to settle, congratulations are starting to trickle in for Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his VVD's third consecutive election win. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker all expressed their congratulations to Rutte.

France and Germany also have elections later this year. The Dutch elections drew a lot of international interest because it was seen as a harbinger of what will happen in France and Germany. It was also considered an indicator of whether the populism trend that resulted in the Brexit and Donald Trump being elected United States President crossed over to the European continent. 

French president Hollande was the first to offer Rutte congratulations. "I congratulate Mark Rutte wholeheartedly with his victory over extremism", he wrote on Twitter. "Openness, mutual respect and Europe are the only answers to the nationalism that arises around the world."

German Chancellor Merkel also congratulated Rutte on his party's victory. "I look forward to continuing our partnership as friends and Europeans", she said, according to broadcaster NOS.

"Congratulations to my friend Mark Rutte for his clear victory yesterday night", EC president Juncker wrote on Twitter. "The people of the Netherlands voted overwhelmingly for the values Europe stands for: free and tolerant societies in a prosperous Europe. The results of this election is n inspiration to many", he writes in an attached letter. The Frenchman added in Dutch (translated to English) "Let us build a strong Europe together!"