March 16, 2017 / 10:14 AM / 2 years ago

Merkel says Dutch election result sends pro-Europe signal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the demographic summit in Berlin, Germany, March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed on Thursday an election victory in the Netherlands for center-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte who fought off a challenge from anti-Islam and anti-EU rival Geert Wilders.

“The Netherlands are our partners, friends, neighbors. Therefore I was very happy that a high turnout led to a very pro-European result, a clear signal,” Merkel told a conference on demography.

“And that after days in which the Netherlands had to tolerate accusations and reproaches from Turkey which are totally unacceptable... It was a good day for democracy.”

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also welcomed the pro-Europe result.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Andrea Shalal

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