NICOLA Sturgeon has welcomed Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election.

The First Minister hailed their shared belief in “European values” after the president comfortably defeated far-right challenger Marine Le Pen.

A message posted on Sturgeon’s official Twitter account reads: "I am delighted that the governments of Scotland and France will continue to work together in close collaboration on the mutual issues facing our two countries – such as climate change, bio diversity and our European values.”

She joined leaders across the world in congratulating Macron, with many breathing a sigh of relief that his populist rival was defeated.

“Democracy wins, Europe wins,” said Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez.

“Together we will make France and Europe advance,” tweeted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi hailed Macron’s victory as “splendid news for all of Europe” and a boost to the EU “being a protagonist in the greatest challenges of our times, starting with the war in Ukraine”.

Boris Johnson, whose government has clashed with Macron’s over immigration and fishing rights in recent years, also congratulated the French leader.

“France is one of our closest and most important allies,” he tweeted. “I look forward to continuing to work together on the issues which matter most to our two countries and to the world.”

US president Joe Biden added: “France is our oldest ally and a key partner in addressing global challenges. I look forward to our continued close cooperation — including on supporting Ukraine, defending democracy, and countering climate change.”

Macron won with 58.5% of the vote to Ms Le Pen’s 41.5% — significantly closer than when they first faced off in 2017.

He is the first French president in 20 years to win re-election, since incumbent Jacques Chirac trounced Le Pen’s father in 2002.

Le Pen called her results “a shining victory,” saying that “in this defeat, I can’t help but feel a form of hope”.

Breaking through the threshold of 40% of the vote is unprecedented for the French far-right. Le Pen was beaten 66% to 34% by Macron in 2017 and her father got less than 20% against Mr Chirac.

She and left-wing leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, one of 10 candidates eliminated in the first round on April 10, both quickly pitched forward on Sunday night to France’s legislative election in June, urging voters to give them a parliamentary majority to hamstring Macron.