French economy minister has waded into the ‘Brexit’ (British exit from the European Union) debate today – claiming that if the Euro currency and the European Union (EU) remain too rigid and restrictive, then they may be dismantled.
Speaking in an interview with France’s L’Express newspaper, Emmanuel Macron, who previously served on staff to now French President Francois Hollande, said that there must be fundamental “treaty changes” to the EU, adding: “if we continue to do nothing, the EU and the euro area will be dismantled”.
While evidently pro-EU, Mr. Macron appears to be positioning himself as a David Cameron-style reformer, perhaps even using the upcoming elections in his country in 2017 to create a larger platform for himself nationally.
Mr. Macron considers it necessary, according to AFP, “to use this time [before the French elections] to conduct a European debate”, warning that “if people do not believe in Europe and in the euro area, it must be dismantled”.
In February, the French Economy Minister criticised the EU’s fiscal policy, calling it “bad” because it is “too restrictive”. He added: “if we are to have the suffering of the short term without the strength of long term, it is better that it unravels”.
He said that a British exit from the European Union would increase “the risk of disintegration and permanently weaken the whole of Europe”.
The magazine has described his style as like former British Prime Minister Tony Blair: centre-left, and like a “tornado” – “raising ideas and smashing them by throwing them into the public debate”.
Mr. Macron also performs better than his incumbent President – Francois Hollande – in presidential polling against the Front National’s Marine Le Pen. A January poll by Odexa found that while Mr. Hollande attracted 16 per cent of voters against Ms. Le Pen’s 30 per cent in first round voting, Mr. Macron closed the gap to 22 per cent support for him, with 27 per cent support for Ms. Le Pen.
The poll also revealed that he was almost as popular as the Alain Juppe, the most popular politician so far declared for any party’s primary selection process which takes place this coming autumn. Mr. Juppe has a +16 per cent approval rating, while Mr. Macron enjoys a +12 per cent rating. All other candidates have net negative approval ratings.