Macron comes over all euro-sceptic

Emmanuel Macron comes over all euro-sceptic…

“We ended the day on what we can call a failure. It’s a very bad image we are giving of the Council and Europe, no one can be satisfied with what happened over so many hours. Our credibility is profoundly tainted with these meetings that are too long and lead to nothing, we give an image of Europe that isn’t serious. We cannot hold talks with world leaders, in an ever more violent world, and be a club that meets at 28 without ever deciding anything.”

French Economy Slips Back Into Contraction Territory

It’s not just the Germany economy which is being hit by a serious slump, France is stuck in a rut of its own with the latest economic data showing yet another contraction. After a very slight recovery in February, France’s composite PMI for this month has fallen back down below the 50 level, which indicates growth, to 48.7, following contractions in December and January as well. No wonder Macron’s no deal bluster didn’t survive the night yesterday – if May had actually stuck to her no deal promise the UK’s position would only be getting stronger now…

May Rumours Swirling as EU Digs In on Brexit Extension

The EU have rebuffed May’s request for an Article 50 extension to 30th June, releasing a note insisting that the 23rd May is the crucial date – the day European Parliament elections begin. They say the PM can either have a “short technical extension” until 23rd May, any longer and it will have to be at least until the end of 2019 and the UK will have to participate in European Parliament elections. The commentariat’s unfounded speculation that the UK could avoid taking part as long as they left by the end of June falls flat again…

French media are reporting that Emmanuel Macron is considering vetoing any extension tomorrow if May can’t produce a “credible strategy” for getting to a deal. The BBC’s Adam Fleming reckons its too late for EU leaders to even agree one tomorrow as they haven’t had time to consult with national parliaments…

Whether Macron is serious or this is just part of a good-cop bad-cop routine remains to be seen. Donald Tusk has made no secret of his desire for the UK to hold a second referendum and cancel Brexit. There is no doubt that the EU27 will use any extension request to try to push the UK closer to one…

At that point it becomes the ultimate test of May’s resolve. May firmly put her eggs in the short extension basket today, what will she do if the EU try to force her into a long one with a second referendum as the price? Rumours are swirling that she will make a formal statement on the steps of Downing Street tonight…

Macron Threatens to Veto EU – South American Trade Deal

Macron has threatened to veto a trade deal with the Mercusur bloc of South American countries, if Brazil’s new President-elect Jair Bolsonaro follows through with his pledge to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The deal is still not complete, even after 17 years of negotiations. When the EU negotiates trade deals with other countries, any one of the 28 EU member states can veto the signing of it, making the process painfully sclerotic. When the UK leaves the EU’s Customs Union, we will be able to sign a deal with Brazil if we want to – without having to seek Macron’s permission…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Macron’s Blunt Brexit Warning to UK Over Fishing

French Finance Minister Calls for “Europe to Become an Empire Again”

The French Finance Minister has told the French-German Business Forum that “Europe has to become an empire again.” Speaking candidly to the assembled delegates, the minister spoke to Macron’s vision of a united Europe, saying unification as an Empire has to occur “in the next 25 years.”

Describing a federal European empire as “European sovereignty” he told the conference that whilst it should be built “brick by brick,” “rapid progress” is needed. “We should be looking at weeks and months much more than years.” With Merkel announcing her support for a European army last week, the building of federal European sovereignty brick by brick looks well under way…

Read the extraordinary opening paragraphs to the Finance Minister’s speech in full below:

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Downing Street: It is Still Chequers or No Deal

The reason May looked so shook yesterday at the Salzburg press conference is simply that she did not expect the rejection to come now or for them to be blunt to the point of humiliatingly rude. Macron positively rejoicing at the prospect of punishing Britain and Tusk claiming Chequers is dead, coupled with him mocking her crassly on Instagram do not signal diplomatic success for Olly Robbins.

The line this morning from Downing Street is, to coin a phrase, “nothing has changed”. This rejection is, they say, merely positioning in the final stages of a negotiation. Nobody else seems to agree. The EU is playing brutally hard ball and Downing Street has been hitherto firmly pragmatic. She needs to stick to what she told Nick Robinson at Chequers in the interview clip above. It is still possible that the EU will blink, Downing Street says they now have to. This is also the end of the line for can kicking by Theresa May, if she compromises beyond Chequers she will see more Cabinet resignations and the resignation of one of her top advisers. She can’t move politically on;

  • ending free movement
  • membership of the single market or the customs union
  • ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ
  • ending vast payments to the EU or paying for access to the single market
  • integrity of Britain and Northern Ireland

Macron’s approval rating is on the floor, bashing les Anglais is a vote winner, Ireland’s Leo Varadkar has no intention of being seen to be soft on the British. It is possible that EU leaders will blink, however not probable unless the they really believe the UK will actually go ahead with no deal, no much needed £39 billion contribution to the EU budget. Just a cheery au revoir and auf wiedersehen…

Sacre Bleu! Chanel Crosses Channel

Emmanual Macron will have been choking on his croissant this morning as Chanel announced that – despite Brexit – they were snubbing Paris to set up their global office in London. Sacré bleu!

The legendary fashion house generated global sales of over £7 billion last year and has chosen London as the place to consolidate its global operations for the first time, despite being founded in Paris over 100 years ago. Several senior executives are set to move and the company’s main New York offices have relocated to London, bringing dozens of jobs with them. Zut alors!

Chanel told the BBC that it “wanted to simplify the structure of the business and London is the most appropriate place to do that for an international company. London is the most central location for our markets, uses the English language and has strong corporate governance standards with its regulatory and legal requirements.” Chouette!

Trump Wipes Dandruff Off Macron’s Suit

Dandruff diplomacy…

Macron: French “Probably” Would Have Voted to Leave EU

French President Emmanuel Macron admits the French people would “probably” have voted to leave the European Union had they been allowed a referendum. #DespiteFrexit…

Friday Caption Contest (Great Shape Edition)

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Rich’s Monday Morning View

French Populist Wins Presidency

Marine Le Pen has conceded, Macron is projected to win 2 to 1 votes…

Macron’s Banks Thanks to May

Emmanuel Macron, who Theresa May granted the privilege of a visit to Downing Street this afternoon, stands on the steps of Number 10 and tells the media he wants British banks to relocate to France. In his dreams. Typical ungrateful Frenchman…

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