French independent centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron fires up his supporters during a campaign rally in Paris.
French independent centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron fires up his supporters during a campaign rally in Paris. Christophe Ena

Macron hedges bets on Frexit

EMMANUEL Macron, the frontrunner in Sunday's French presidential election, has said he will consider pulling France out of the European Union if the bloc does not reform.

In a marked shift in comments that brings him closer to his rival Marine Le Pen on the issue of European integration, Mr Macron warned of the prospect of "Frexit”.

"I'm a pro-European. I defended constantly during this election the European idea and European policies because I believe it's extremely important for French people and for the place of our country in globalisation,” he said.

"But at the same time we have to face the situation, to listen to our people, and to listen to the fact that they are extremely angry today, impatient and the dysfunction of the EU is no more sustainable.

"So I do consider that my mandate, the day after, will be at the same time to reform in depth the European Union and our European project.”

His comments to the BBC came as far-right candidate Ms Le Pen accused her centrist rival of being "a radical EU extremist” during a rally in Paris.

She attacked Mr Macron's pro-EU stance and repeated her promise of a referendum, saying she would renegotiate with Brussels to regain France's sovereignty.

The two candidates have opposing policies on the EU, with Mr Macron being congratulated by Brussels for his first-round victory.

But Mr Macron's latest remarks suggest he is toughening his stance on Europe to win over voters attracted to Ms Le Pen's euroscepticism.- INM



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