Canada PM says Merkel win 'a great victory'

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday publicly congratulated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her "historic" election win.

"I want to congratulate Angela Merkel. It's a great victory," Harper said during a joint press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

The Canadian prime minister noted that he and Merkel are the only two leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations who are still in office after sweeping to power in the mid-2000s.

"Her victory is a strong personal victory and really an historic one," Harper said, "And I look forward to speaking to Angela in the next few hours to congratulate her personally."

It was Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrats' third consecutive election win.

Letta at the end of a two-day official visit to Canada repeated an earlier statement calling the defeat of Germany's upstart anti-euro party AfD a win for Europe.

"The success of an anti-euro party in Germany would have been a catastrophe for Europe and Italy and, for global cooperation," he said.

"That didn't happen and that's a very good thing."

During his visit, Lette discussed with Harper the economy and trade, notably ongoing Canada-EU free trade talks. Italy is Canada's 10th largest trading partner.

Lette told reporters Italy must push privatization, as it looks to attract more foreign investment. He also invited Harper to visit his country in the first half of next year.