Brexit deal drama to continue as Macron’s 2022 election strategy exposed

Macron claims Brexit is 'child' of 'lies and false promises'

French MEP Nathalie Loiseau, who is a strong ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, has confirmed a plan to “modify” the Brexit deal, insisting the European Parliament will “improve” the agreement. Ms Loiseau claimed MEPs “have a role in modifying” the deal, even after ratification. France24 host Catherine Nicholson asked: “The agreement has been provisionally applied since January 1, but it hasn’t yet been ratified by the European Parliament.

“It is a key legal step, but does the European Parliament have a real say here?”

Ms Loiseau responded: “I’m certain we will act responsibly. But that means we go through the text.

“We don’t vote on it within 24 hours, as the case was in Westminster, which was quite a surprise to me.

“If you see that things are lacking, or things should be more precise or should be improved you say it.”

Hinting things might change even after ratification, Ms Loiseau added: “If we consider that the deal is not perfect, we will be very careful about its implementation, we will monitor that.

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“And in the future, if things are to be improved or complemented we will say that.”

Ms Loiseau’s claims do not come as a surprise, though.

France was extremely stubborn for the withdrawal agreement negotiations, as well as trade talks.

The two sides were said to be close to reaching an agreement on numerous occasions until Mr Macron raised serious doubts about the direction of talks.

Because the French President is facing domestic threats to his re-election, political sources in France claimed he would have rather seen the talks flounder than agree to a bad deal that could have tempted other EU states to leave the bloc.

Moreover, according to former communications director at Number 10, Katie Perrior, the French President “realises his poll ratings go up every time he’s not nice to the Brits”.

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As Prime Minister Boris Johnson was trying to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, Ms Perrior told talkRADIO in August, 2019: “President Macron realises his poll ratings go up every time he’s not nice to the Brits.

“He’s got to think about his own elections, he has got to think about what works for him and his country. And he’s run out of patience.

“Brexit is massive for us, it has dominated our airwaves, it has dominated our TV screens.

“But, over the other side of the pond. Macron has other things to worry about. He sees Brexit as a real annoyance.”

The sentiment was recently echoed by the head of Oxford-based think-tank Euro Intelligence Wolfgang Munchau, who shed light on Mr Macron’s potential rival at the 2022 presidential election.

He wrote: “As in the UK, the fishing industry’s economic contribution is small in France.

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“Total sales were around €2billion (£1.8billion) in 2016, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) statistics show that less than 14,000 people were employed in the fishing sector in 2018.

“Employment in fishing has fallen by eight percent since 2011. But fishing, like agriculture, is symbolically important in France. And northern French fishermen take the majority of their catch from British waters.

“Macron might be worried about Xavier Bertrand, a high-profile former member of Les Républicains and potential 2022 candidate who is close with the industry.”

He continued: “Bertrand is president of the Hauts-de-France region. He served as health minister under Jacques Chirac and labour minister under Nicolas Sarkozy.

“Bertrand has recently been spotted in meetings with a string of senior right-wing political figures, including LR [The Republicans] President Christian Jacob. Rachida Dati supports his candidacy, and Le Journal du Dimanche reports that he will meet with Nicolas Sarkozy. With the help of LR deputy Julien Dive, he has also been meeting with parliamentarians and senators.

“His think tank La Manufacture has been mobilised to develop an election campaign strategy, and a recent Ifop poll put Bertrand at the top of the list of potential right-wing candidates.”

In March 2022, France goes to the polls to elect their president.

At the time of writing, Mr Macron’s ratings seem to be languishing.

In the Summer of 2020, the French President would have been embarrassed to learn that his former Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, was more popular than he was.

According to polling firm Ifop, in June, the Prime Minister had an approval rating of 50 percent — well above Mr Macron’s, which stood at 38 percent.

In December, his personal approval rating stood at 39 percent.

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