UK euroscep­tics see Macron win as bad news for Brexit talks

New Straits Times - - World -

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May con­grat­u­lated France’s in­com­ing pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron, but euroscep­tics re­acted an­grily yes­ter­day to his elec­tion vic­tory, say­ing it was bad news for the Brexit talks.

Brexit fire­brand Nigel Farage said Macron would be Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent JeanClaude Juncker’s “pup­pet” while the Leave.EU group com­pared his elec­tion win to France’s sur­ren­der to Nazi Ger­many.

“France’s new hope puts cloud over Brexit,” read a front-page head­line in the

The pa­per said Macron could be ex­pected to “con­tinue with France’s tough stance on Brexit”.

In the which also sup­ported Bri­tain’s shock vote to leave the Euro­pean Union last year, columnist Robert Hard­man wrote that Macron “stands along­side those who favour the big stick rather than the big car­rot”.

Macron has been crit­i­cal of the Brexit vote, defin­ing it a “crime” in an in­ter­view for in March.

As he ar­rived for his vic­tory speech out­side the Lou­vre mu­seum in Paris on Sun­day, the EU’s an­them played out — a fact high­lighted in British me­dia re­ports.

But an­a­lysts said while Macron is likely to be tough on Bri­tain’s divorce settlement, a vic­tory for Marine Le Pen would have been a worse out­come as it would have meant ne­go­ti­at­ing with an EU in dis­ar­ray.

His elec­tion “may make it eas­ier for the EU to come to a sen­si­ble con­clu­sion” on Bri­tain leav­ing, said Jonathan Portes, a pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics and public pol­icy at King’s Col­lege Lon­don.

He also said, how­ever, that Macron was likely to “take a rel­a­tively hard line on the UK’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sin­gle mar­ket”.

Given his bank­ing back­ground, he could also seek to lure more fi­nan­cial jobs to Paris, Portes said.

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