Emmanuel Macron Embraces EU to Put France 'Back in the Picture' – New York Times


On many issues, Mr. Macron will be a natural ally for the Germans, including on European defense. France has been unusually passive in the last six months on the question of European security, when it is normally vocal, said Ms. Tocci of the Institute for International Affairs. “Having France back is essential for European defense, and if Macron could install some ambition, it would be very welcome,” she said.

Mr. Macron has been critical of Russia and of Moscow’s more aggressive policies in Europe, a stance likely to be strengthened by a hacking attack on Mr. Macron’s campaign thought to be carried out by groups linked to Russia just before the French presidential vote. At the same time, Tomas Valasek, director of Carnegie Europe and recently Slovakia’s ambassador to NATO, described France as “a difficult but constructive ally” inside NATO, saying that Paris would continue to be skeptical about further enlargement of the alliance and would encourage NATO-Russia dialogue.

For Britain, Mr. Macron’s election is not good news, at least on the face of things. Prime Minister Theresa May says that Britain wants a strong European Union as a partner even after it leaves. But Mr. Macron, a former banker, has taken a tough stand on the British withdrawal, known as Brexit, criticizing European leaders for trying to make a special deal with former Prime Minister David Cameron before Britons even voted to leave the bloc.

Mr. Macron has refused any special post-withdrawal deal for the City of London, Britain’s financial heart. He has also warned that British financial institutions should not be able to sell their services in the eurozone and has called openly for bankers, researchers and academics to leave Britain and move to France.

“It’s the British who will lose the most,” Mr. Macron said in a pre-election interview with the global affairs magazine Monocle. “You cannot enjoy rights in Europe if you are not a member — otherwise it will fall apart,” he said. “Europe is what has enabled us since 1945, in an unprecedented way, to preserve peace, security, freedom and prosperity in our continent. The British are making a serious mistake over the long term.”

After Mr. Macron’s victory, however, his top economic adviser, Jean Pisani-Ferry, used softer words on Monday. “I don’t think anybody has an interest in a hard ‘Brexit,’ ” Mr. Pisani-Ferry told the BBC. “There is a mutual interest in keeping prosperity that exists.”

Still, he said of Mr. Macron: “There will be a tough negotiation, and he will be tough.”

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