Unstable France on our borders?

Emmanuel Macron's strong showing in the first round of France's presidential election has been welcomed in Belgium. PM Charles Michel, a Francophone liberal, took to the micro-blogging website Twitter to congratulate M Macron who in recent days has been variously described in the media as a "centrist, liberal and social democrat".

"Heart-felt congratulations to Emmanuel Macron. This is my show of support for an optimistic and forward-looking European project."

M Macron's victory proved food for thought for Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders. Mr Reynders, who belongs to Mr Michel's Francophone liberal party, spoke of the prospect of M Macron's party failing to secure a majority in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Without a majority M Macron would not be able to govern like earlier French presidents. A coalition could also be on the cards according to the Belgian foreign minister, who believes the parliamentary elections will be even more difficult for M Macron: "Maybe M Macron will have a majority, but parliament could also be divided with lots of Republican candidates (of M Fillon's party) being elected."

Mr Reynders fears that France could be ungovernable after the elections: "M Macron may need to involve several partners, possibly the Republicans, possibly also others. We may end up with a coalition like in Belgium. A coalition can be strong, just look at Germany. M Macron has also indicated his keenness to work with others".