Tale of two leaders: victorious Macron meets enfeebled May

Tale of two leaders: victorious Macron meets enfeebled May
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is in Paris meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, whose La République en Marche looks set to win by a landslide in the parliamentary election. His mandate couldn’t be further from the British PM’s own feeble minority.

The political gamble did not work out as hoped for May, whose Tories lost 13 seats in last week’s snap general election. By contrast, Macron’s party is expected to win a comfortable majority.

The press took no time in exploiting the theme, with Telegraph cartoonist Patrick Blower depicting May and Macron driving down a Parisian street surrounded by cheering crowds.

“This, Madame May, is victory,” Macron quips at a grumpy British PM.

The left-leaning Libération pointed out that Margaret Thatcher was also in the French capital when a Conservative Party vote ended her career in 1990.

Brexit talks

The two political leaders will invariably discuss the impending Brexit negotiations. Macron is a strong supporter of the European Union.

“The French president has little incentive to help the UK out of the mess it is in, even if that were possible. Indeed, for President Macron, Brexit is looking increasingly like an historic opportunity rather than a cause for regret,” Financial Times chief foreign affairs columnist Gideon Rachman recently argued.

Macron has often talked about a “revitalised France, inside a revitalised EU,” Rachman said. To see May humiliated will no doubt have raised a few laughs in the Élysée Palace.

Counter-terrorism agreement

The main point May will bring to the table, however, will be new legislation on internet security to clamp down on terrorist organizations.

Both nations are keen to develop policies to force tech giants such as Facebook and Google to track and stop the online grooming of extremists.