French President Emmanuel Macron attended the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show” for an interview recorded a few days earlier and released on January 21. With startling openness President admits there is a possibility of Frexit vote, in case France to hold a referendum on EU membership.
Macron also underlineded that “four freedoms” are precondition for entering Single Market, and put forward Norway and Canada trade deals as possible prototypes for new framework of functional relations between the EU27 and the UK.
Next month the EU leaders will gather in Italian capital , 26/01/2017, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. However, in view of the UK imminent departure, and multiple crises the EU project suffers, one does not expect any opulent festivities. The situation is aggravated by the banking crisis in Italy, considering the departure from the eurozone, and exhausted by invasion of illegal migrants from Africa.
According to the EU officials a new document expected to be signed by 27 EU leaders, committing them to a new concept for the bloc, without the UK. There is also some concern, or even fear of the UK government to trigger the #Brexit article 50 the very same day to overshadow the symbolism of the date.
Initially anticipated as a huge celebration, the event will be reduced to a sober political meeting without red carpets and fireworks. No flamboyant declarations or promises will be made, awaiting the results of French elections in May with Marine Le Pen of Front National leading in polls, promising her electorate a referendum on the EU membership of France in six month after the ascendance to power.
Launching the presidential campaign this weekend in Lyon – France second biggest city and major centre for banking, chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries – the leader of Front National Marine Le Pen promised to organise a referendum on the European Union membership, following the UK example.
In her speech #Marine gave a negative characteristic to the European Union, incapable to fulfill its promises on prosperity, and even less on security, becoming simply a “nightmare”for French citizens. The event gathered a considerable audience of three thousand people, approximately two thousands more could not enter, and over the weekend all together 10.000 supporters were involved in related activities.
A day earlier Lyon welcomed the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, who upgraded his status after the disgraced front-runner Francois Fillon lost 16% in approval polls. On contrary to #Marine, Macron favors closer ties with the #EU, namely in security and defence.
Although as a Finance minister Macron has urged the need to reform euro, and has criticized the current status quo: “The truth is that we must collectively recognise that the euro is incomplete and cannot last without major reforms,” Macron said in his speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin. “It has not provided Europe with full international sovereignty against the dollar on its rules. It has not provided Europe with a natural convergence between the different member states.” He has never questioned French membership in the organisation.
Based on opinion polls Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron as highly probable contestants in the second round of the presidential elections. While the Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon would hardly be able to overcome the unpopularity of his party in 78 days left before the vote; and after Francois Fillon self-inflicted downfall the centre-right Republicans entered a profound crisis, making a swift recovery almost impossible.