3 May 2017

What would Emmanuel Macron as France’s leader mean for Europe?

A presidential win could offer a last chance for liberal reform of Europe but may prove bad news for Britain’s Brexit trade hopes.

From Patrick Wintour Diplomati editor at the Guardian Newspaper.

In a sign of how quickly European politics has moved, senior diplomats in the British embassy in Paris less than a decade ago held intense discussions about whether British officials could ever have a meeting with members of the French Front National. The party, then run by Jean-Marie Le Pen, was regarded as so off-limits as to be untouchable.

The embassy’s current occupants will doubtless be breathing a quiet sigh of relief that Marine Le Pen, Jean-Marie’s estranged daughter, is unlikely to make up a 20-point deficit to win the second round of the presidential elections, but know the alternative – the election of the almost romantically pro-European Emmanuel Macron – might prove to be an equally big diplomatic headache.

Macron’s presidency may turn on his ability to push through domestic reforms, but in his campaign he has set down unpalatable markers for London on Brexit and for the future shape of Europe, especially the revival of the long stalled Franco-German motor.