Europe News

French election results good for Europe and the world — but let's wait for second round, says Italy's finance minister

Key Points
  • Pier Padoan said Emmanuel Macron has a "strong pro-European and pro-market program."
  • The Italian finance minister said European Union faces disintegration with Marine Le Pen.
French vote 'good news' for Europe: Italy's FM

Centrist Emmanuel Macron's lead in the first round of the French presidential election is good news for Europe and the world, Italian Finance Minister Pier Padoan told CNBC on Monday.

"Let's wait for the second round," Padoan, an independent, said on "Squawk Box."

Global markets soared Monday after Macron of the independent En Marche party secured the lion's share of votes in Sunday's preliminary election, with the far-right's Marine Le Pen of France's National Front party trailing narrowly. They face a May 7 runoff.

U.S. stock futures were 1 percent higher, with the Dow futures soaring jumping more than 200 points, as investors sighed in relief.

Le Pen, who is attempting to make history as France's first female president, has an anti-establishment platform with a closed-door policy to immigration. She wants France to leave the European Union and has called for a tax on companies hiring foreign workers.

Macron, who has never held elective office, is an EU ex-banker and former economy minister who founded his own party only a year ago. He is pro-European Union and has called for less strict immigration policies than has Le Pen.

Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy's finance minister
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Macron has criticized the protectionist and environmental policies of President Donald Trump.

"Mr. Trump would be making a grave mistake by going back on his predecessor's commitments towards the climate," Macron said, speaking after he unveiled his election manifesto in March.

The Italian finance minister said Europe needs to look at why populist ideas have such a strong appeal.

"The fact that these people are worried about their jobs, about their future opportunities, about their kids. It is the duty of ... European politics to give a concrete answer to those challenges," Padoan said.

He said it's also good that Macron gained the lead because he has a "strong pro-European and pro-market program."

He said if the vote went in Le Pen's favor, the European Union would be facing possible disintegration "because this would appeal not just to France but also to other countries."

—CNBC's Silvia Amaro, Gemma Acton and Reuters contributed to this report.