Reuters International

Emmanuel Macron, candidate in France's 2017 French presidential election, delivers an address for French nationals in London, Britain, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

(reuters_tickers)

PARIS (Reuters) - French independent candidate and presidential election frontrunner Emmanuel Macron will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 16, a source close to the former economy minister said on Saturday.

A meeting with Merkel, the leader of Europe's biggest economy, could further bolster the image of the 39 year-old Macron following his meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May in London on Tuesday.

A German government spokesman said on Friday that Merkel's and Macron's teams were discussing possible dates for a meeting.

The source said the meeting would be held in Berlin.

Opinion polls show that Macron is favourite to win in the second round of the presidential election, either against far right candidate Marine Le Pen, who is expected to lead in the first round, or against conservative Francois Fillon.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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