Don’t expect Macron’s win to reset UK-France ties

Press quote (Politico)
25 April 2022

Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform think tank, predicted that a reset in the Franco-British relationship won’t happen until Johnson ceases to be prime minister, and warned that contempt for the U.K. leader at the Elysée should not be underestimated.

“The truth is that Macron doesn’t like Boris Johnson at all,” Grant said. “It is not just electoral politics — he really is fed up with Johnson. [The French] think Johnson is not an honest or a serious person they can deal with. That’s going to continue.”

...“If, because of the collapse of the Northern Ireland protocol, the [European] Commission proposes to suspend the [EU-U.K.] Trade and Cooperation Agreement — which is what they were going to propose in December — quite a lot of EU member states will not want to be as hard on the British as that,” said Grant. “Macron will find it quite difficult to persuade the whole of the EU to be tough on the British because of the Ukraine war.”

...Grant pointed out that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will need to keep Macron on her side to secure her reappointment after the 2024 European election. That means Maros Šefčovič, the Commision’s vice president and Brexit point-man, could struggle to offer compromises to the Brits over the protocol even if he would like to.