German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron (R). EPA

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday hailed Angela Merkel’s “extremely dignified” decision to step down as German chancellor in 2021.

Macron told a press conference following talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

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He said; “She has never forgotten what Europe’s values are and she leads her country with great courage.

“That’s what I have to say on this choice and this extremely dignified announcement.”

The centrist French leader added however that there was “nothing reassuring” about the fact that Merkel’s announcement comes against a backdrop of rising support for the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

“I see that as a European phenomenon, it is not only German,” he told reporters.

“The far-right, I’ll remind you, is doing the best of all in France,” he added.

“In France…the party that won the European elections is called the Front National,” he said in reference to the far-right party now renamed the National Rally.

“So this is not new,” he said of the rise of the AfD.

“It worries me, but it motivates me.”