Macron and Brexit: An update

By Christian Lequesne, Professor of political science, Sciences Po Paris.

Macron Speech
Picture Source: UK in a Changing Europe

Looking at Macron’s European strategy, there is a strong feeling that the French President does not want to lose too much time with Brexit. For the proactive Macron, Brexit is a legacy of past crises that must be solved as quickly as possible, so that attention can switch to the main priority: a new agenda for EU reforms. Macron is not prepared to make special concessions to the UK on the single market issues.

In a recent press conference with the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, he insisted that there has been a clear decision by UK to have a less favorable access to the single market than Norway.

Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal that UK must remain in the EU customs union for a period of two years after Brexit, Macron said: “Why not? This is the Turkish option”. The comparison is not particularly flattering for London.

Prime Minister May’s speeches on Brexit have convinced Macron, and many French politicians besides, that there is no other option than assuming a clear separation of the UK from the EU. As it is often said in French: “dont acte!” – duly noted! Read more