What would a French President Macron mean for Brexit?

Insulting European leaders is not a brilliant strategy

 

It seems that the season of political surprises continues as it now spreads to France.

In November last year, having secured the nomination for the Republican party, the former French Prime Minister François Fillon had high hopes of winning the Presidential election in just a few months’ time.

With almost everyone expecting the National Front’s Marine Le Pen to make it to the final round of voting in the campaign for the Elysee palace, the expectation was that Fillon would claim victory thanks to the combined forces of all those rejecting Le Pen’s politics, be they socialists or moderate conservatives.

Today however, Fillon’s campaign teeters on the brink of collapse, thanks to revelations that his wife was previously paid for a fake job as his parliamentary assistant.

For Thresa May, the prospect of a Fillon victory will have filled her with a sense of cautious optimism given his Thatcherite views on Europe. He had, after all called for a ‘serene’ but ‘fast’ Brexit and called for a ‘good neighbourhood agreement’ between the UK and the EU. He has also previously said of the EU:

“Today Europe at best is inefficient, useless, out fashioned and at worst is an obstacle to our development and our freedom.”

With the prospect of Fillon’s star fading, one poll yesterday suggested that the independent centrist and former Economy Minister,  Emmanuel Macron, is in prime position to take the presidency.  Faced with such a prospect, the evidence suggestions that he would be likely to give the UK a hard time during the Brexit negotiations.

Prior to the EU referendum , as a Minister, he told Le Monde that:

“leaving the EU would mean the ‘Guernseyfication’ of the UK, which would then be a little country on the world scale. It would isolate itself and become a trading post and arbitration place at Europe’s border.”

In September he called for British-based firms to be prevented from selling their services to the Eurozone.

“The financial passport”, he said “is part of full access to the EU market and a precondition for that is the contribution to the EU budget. That has been the case in Norway and in Switzerland. That is clear.”

In October, he told Bloomberg that Britain can’t expect any special privileges when it leaves the EU, raising questions over how likely Theresa May’s efforts for a free trade deal with the rest of Europe might be under a Macron presidency.

He has also warned that Brexit Britain would be irrelevant to China.

The reality is that the prospect of a Macron victory, while cheering for the forces of moderation, will make Brexit more difficult than it might have been under Fillon.

Perhaps now the UK government will grasp the reality that alienating the EU in the way that it has done by snuggling up to Donald Trump, and launching personal attacks such as Boris Johnson’s on President Hollande, will do little to get Britain the good deal we all want.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

6 Responses to “What would a French President Macron mean for Brexit?”

  1. Jason

    Of course after reading all this we get back to the plain and obvious that Fillon will not get the presidency.

  2. David Lindsay

    Benoît Hamon is far too Green and far too pro-EU. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, on the other hand, harbours no fantasy that the Road to Hell is economic growth. But he does say that it is, “impossible to achieve the democratic change needed in the EU, all power belonging to technocrats with no popular legitimacy.”

    Seen from the rest of the world, at least, François Fillon would be still be better than Marine Le Pen. But any second round with a Le Pen on the ballot would be, as it has been once in the past, a referendum on the Front National and on everything behind it. The other candidate would be bound to win. Again, that has happened in the past. Why, then, should that candidate not be Jean-Luc Mélenchon?

    Magic realism emerged in Latin America because its inhabitants’ ancestors had largely found themselves confronted with flora and fauna, landscapes and weather, places and people, of the like of which they had never so much as heard tell. The rest of those inhabitants’ ancestors had been the people who had found themselves confronted with the first lot and with their ways, including their reactions to everything on the New Continent. Before too long at all, absolutely anything had seemed par for the course.

    How very unlike the mind of the Old Continent. In those days. But not in these days. President Mélenchon? Far, far, far stranger things are now happening all around us, all the time.

  3. Alex from Carlisle

    I’m sure if this Macron did win, Left Foot Forward and other fifth columnist anglophobes will be wetting themselves in glee.

  4. nhsgp

    Its going to be Le Pen.

    Fillion will struggle on until election day.

    The left is splinted all over the place. Hammon is socialist, and Hollande has screwed it for them. Mélenchon is a socialist, and Hollande has screwed it for him. Between the two they split the vote and neither get to the run off. Macron worked for Hollande, A three way split won’t get them there. They have also had enough of ENA candidates.

    So its going to be Le Pen, currently in the lead, and remember, people lie to pollsters, like the Tory polling, like Brexit, to avoid the abusive behaviour of the left.

    So its a simple question, who do the socialists vote for?

    1. No one – they stay at home. Front runner gets home.

    2. Fillion. A million in nepotistic payments, plus 500,000 agree to be sacked.

    3. For the socialist policies, nationalistic Le Pen.

    Hmmm not difficult

  5. Brodie

    I love all the commentators who think France has a single round, first past the post election. If the Left fractures – all it takes is one left or centre-left candidate to make it to the second round for the Left to reunite behind a single candidate.

  6. czarnajama

    Macron obviously would be best. A very tough approach to Brexit by France may just be enough to stimulate a reversal of Brexit (e.g. a second referendum). A hard Remain coalition needs to arise in Britain, but it won’t until the losses of a Brexit become painfully clear. Time is needed, and the Brexit forces understand that and are pushing for a very quick Article 50 to head off a resurgent Remain.

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