Macron jumps on Frexit bandwagon 'because EU so unfashionable among French’
The image of Emmanuel Macron being a golden boy from Brussels, the banker, is too strong, and he cannot get rid of that image, which will not help him gain extra points ahead of next week's presidential election, says Nikola Mirkovich, political analyst.
The anti-establishment candidate Marine Le Pen of Front National will face-off on May 7 against her centrist rival Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! The two candidates have wasted no time in trying to land a knockout blow before the vote.
Macron's first-round victory on April 23 prompted a positive reaction from many European politicians and the media. Le Pen, who came in just three percentage points behind Macron, announced that, if elected, she will choose the leader of the nationalist Stand up France party as her Prime Minister.
Despite the two candidates being on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they have managed to unite some people who've rallied against both of them. And that has led to some ugly protests this week in Paris.
Can Macron convince French voters that he has their best interests at heart?
RT: Emmanuel Macron seems to be raising the possibility of a Frexit if the EU doesn’t reform. What do you make of that comment? Is he just jumping on the bandwagon, or is this a genuine belief from Macron’s party?
Nikola Mirkovich: That is definitely not a genuine belief of Mr. Macron’s party. Macron has been - through his short political career - very much on the same wavelength since the beginning that he is a staunch supporter of the EU. He is just using that term because the EU today is very, very unfashionable in France. If you look at the way people voted recently, a lot of the parties, whether it be Marine Le Pens’ or [Jean-Luc] Mélenchon’s, are anti-EU parties. Not a lot of people in France today… want the EU the way it has been running. And don’t forget, there was a referendum a couple of years ago, in 2005, when the French rejected the EU constitution. So I think he is just playing around with that, and maybe he thinks he could put some pressure on the EU for some reform. That is what I get out of it.
RT: In many EU countries when it gets closer to vote, the EU is always the whipping boy of any candidate, isn’t it? Do you think voters are going to fall for it?
NM: No, I think the image of him being a golden boy from Brussels, the banker, is too strong, and he cannot get rid of that image. Definitely it will not help him gain extra points. He maybe doesn’t need them, but I don’t think that image is going to work. It is just the way Macron has been doing his campaign since the beginning – saying one thing in the morning and then the contrary in the afternoon. It is quite difficult to follow him. But definitely if you not only read between the lines, if you recall what he said and produced since the beginning, and all he has done as a minister of Francois Hollande, you can see that he is a very strong supporter of the EU...
RT: Over the past few weeks EU leaders have been behind him, his former rivals in France have been behind him, and all the polls suggested that he is going to take the presidency next Sunday. What do you make of this?
NM: There is one important detail, and that is in the way he uses the English language. I think what he really meant is that if there isn’t a bit of change in the European Union, there could be a Frexit, because the French people will put pressure on the legislator, on the French President to get out of the EU. It’s not him saying he would lead a Frexit, it is him saying that if we don’t change a bit the EU the way it is running today, there will undoubtedly be a Frexit, because the French people will want it, or if the Front National wins the next time then they will impose the Frexit. I think that is the real meaning of what Macron said.
RT: Lots of leaders have called for the reform of the EU, but it rarely happens. David Cameron failed to do that. Even if Macron suggests to reform Brussels, how likely is it to ever happen?
NM: Not likely, because he would have said that in the beginning. You would need a very strong, big program; it is a huge program to change the EU. A lot of people have been trying to do it from the inside; it is complicated. It has become a techno-structure today. Nobody knows how it will change. It lives off itself. If he really was sincere in doing that, he would have a program. In any case he would have to develop a very strong program with some deliverables in the short-term in mid-term, to say, this is what we want from the EU. And he has not said that so far. I definitely do not think he will be doing that in the years to come.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.