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    Favourite to win French presidency could drive hard bargain in Brexit negotiations

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    Should Emmanuel Macron, the current presidential favourite in the French elections win in two weeks’ time, it could spell tough times for Britain ahead of Brexit negotiations with the EU according to commentary in the wake of the outcome of the first round of France’s presidential elections. Macron has been an outspoken critic of Brexit, describing the decision by the UK to leave the EU as a “crime”. Macron has already warned that there can be no waiver to the EU’s “unbreakable” position of defending its own interests and the fundamental values it holds of freedom of movement and trade. Macron is believed to favour a hard Brexit, which would put the UK out of the single market. In December last year Macron gave an interview to Bloomberg, in which he stated that he is “attached to a strict approach to Brexit: I respect the British vote but the worst thing would be a sort of weak EU vis-à-vis the British…I don’t want a tailor made approach where the British have the best of two worlds. That will be too big an incentive for others to leave and kill the European idea, which is based on shared responsibilities.”

    Macron will face Marine le Pen in the second round of voting due to take place on 7 May 2017. Le Pen has made numerous calls for France to leave the EU and Macron’s likely success is seen as a refusal by the French public to adhere to this view. The UK’s decision to leave the EU has caused many to fear that anti-EU sentiment would spread across the Europe; these fears appear to be fading in light of Macron’s expected success and the failure of Geert Wilder’s far right party in the election held in the Netherlands in March this year.

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