Macron says France is the 'most attractive country' in Europe
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In a survey conducted by Ifop for the French daily Les Echos, 57 percent of French said they would clearly support plans to see “less Europe” at the next presidential election. The poll will come as a blow to Emmanuel Macron who has long pursued more integration for the bloc.
The survey also comes four years after the same question was asked to French people with some substantial differences in the results.
In 2017 only 44 percent of those surveyed wanted less Europe in French policies.
The 2021 results have exalted Frexit campaigner Florian Philippot, who claimed a referendum on France’s membership of the EU would swing his way.
He said: “Ifop / Les Echos poll released this morning: 57 percent of French people want France ‘to clearly support the objective of less Europe’.
“Against 44 percent in 2017!
“A spectacular increase of 13 points which shows that Frexit will win the game!”
The French president has changed his tune since he was last elected, according to Les Echos.
The French daily claimed that President Macron used to advocate for a complete transformation and even a revolution of French politics.
But Mr Macron has since abandoned his promise to “liberate, protect”, in favour of the second term, the French daily added.
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group think tank, has warned the departure of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in September will accelerate moves from the French President to take her place as the EU’s leading figurehead.
He argued Mr Macron may jump on this opportunity to create an “EU superstate in his image, which should terrify advocates of democracy and sovereignty”.
Mr Harris-Quinney told Express.co.uk: “Macron has been vying to take her (Angela Merkel’s) place for some time, and her leaving office will accelerate this process.
“He is a more extreme Euro federalist than Merkel and will likely seize the opportunity to create an EU superstate in his image, which should terrify advocates of democracy and sovereignty.”
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Anand Menon, Director at the UK in a Changing Europe think tank, said the departure of Ms Merkel could work in favour of Mr Macron as it could enable him to build French influence and his own profile ahead of the Presidential elections in 2022.
He told this website: “The departure of Angela Merkel is a huge moment for the EU, and nobody knows how Germany or the bloc will cope without her.
“But Merkel’s departure could work in Maron’s favour, as he could increase his own profile and French influence if Germany does not step up to the plate.”
Wyn Grant, Politics Professor at the University of Warwick, warned Mr Macron could be allowed to flex his muscles more on the EU stage if he is re-elected as French President, but warned the reception from the remaining 26 member states might not be overly welcoming.
He said: “Macron is more of a federalist than Merkel who is an inherent consensus seeker, but he is also constrained by the weaknesses of his power base in France.
“If he was re-elected, he might then be less restrained, but France can’t tell the other 26 member states what to do.
“They are powerful, but they can be outvoted.”
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