Brexit: David Frost on Theresa May's EU negotiations
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The French President’s plummeting popularity domestically has forced him to rethink his strategy ahead of next year’s election, according to French political commentator Anne-Elisabeth Moutet. She claims that France currently has a centre-right majority and the surging popularity of candidate Xavier Bertrand will see Mr Macron pipped to the presidency.
In a bid to avert this, and win favour with French nationalists, she believes that the europhile president could try and bring Brexit Britain “down a peg or two”.
Doing so will also enable him to achieve his ambition of becoming “King” of Europe after German Chancellor Angela Merkel steps down in September.
Writing in the Telegraph, she said: “It is tempting to enjoy his bravado as a comic refusal to accept reality; but the truth is that our lame-duck president will never be as dangerous for Brexit Britain as he is now.
“Typical of France’s élites, he has always seen power as a zero-sum game: in order for France to win, others must lose.
“With Angela Merkel preparing to leave office in September, Macron believes he has a shot at becoming ‘King Europe’, the policy-shaping leader of one of the main founding nations.
“Taking Brexit Britain down a peg or two is key to realising this ambition.
“He feels that any ‘victory’, whether it be major or petty, is not only a vote-getter at home but a chance to further his European ambitions.”
Her comments come as Mr Macron contends with a humiliating defeat in the two rounds of regional elections this month to Mr Bertrand.
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The former insurance agent’s centre-right bloc out-performed rivals in the votes at the weekend.
After his victory, the 56-year-old warned against “punishing” Britain for Brexit in a bid to fight off the far-Right – led by National Rally leader Marine Le Pen.
He has even called for Calais to become a free-trade zone and for close links with UK businesses whatever the outcome of Brexit talks.
The former minister in Nicholas Sarkozy’s administration said his country didn’t “want a war” with the UK.
And even though he wasn’t in favour of Brexit, he still respected the democratic will of the British people.
Speaking to radio station France Inter just weeks after Brexit came into force, he said: “The British remain a European nation, a great economic power.
“There will still be only about 30km (18 miles) between Dover and Calais.
“So let’s be smart and seek to build a new tailormade relationship.
“It is in their interest, but above all it is in our interest.”
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