19:07 GMT30 October 2020
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    Macron, Le Pen Heading to 2nd Round of French Presidential Election (81)

    The victory of Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential election will likely result in revival of a EU-US trade pact, analysts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The growing prospect of a victory by European Union proponent Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the French presidential election is reviving the possibility of a EU-US trade pact

    "If the pro-European Union Emmanuel Macron wins, I do not believe that it will have any major effect on the relations between the European Union and the United States — both will try to keep on working on a free trade agreement," University of Kent Research Associate Benjamin Leruth said.

    Leruth stated the result of the first round of the French election was a setback for former National Front leader and nationalist Marine Le Pen as it put Macron, the establishment and leading pro-Brussels politician in the race, ahead of her.

    "Emmanuel Macron is now virtually considered as France's next president. Indeed, Marine Le Pen would need to find at least an extra 9-10 million voters to win… Victory for Macron means another round of life for the ‘European’ idea," he explained.

    If elected, Macron would certainly take other actions to try and restore momentum to moves toward greater European unity, Leruth predicted.

    "Macron would like to strengthen the Common Security and Defense Policy, to campaign for a ‘Buy European Act’ and to create a Eurozone ministry and parliament… [A]lso the European Union will be invigorated to seek a new common policy on dealing with Russia," he said.

    A victory by Le Pen would create a very different dynamic, Leruth acknowledged.

    "However, if Marine Le Pen was to be elected, then plans for a free trade deal are likely to be frozen," he said.

    University of Surrey Senior Lecturer in European Politics Theofanis Exadaktylos agreed that the outcome of the first round of voting was a setback for Le Pen and encouraging for supporters of the European Union.

    "Marine Le Pen came in second and that is a ‘defeat’ for her, as she was hoping to become the favorite in this race… Considering that the realistic scenario is for Mr. Macron to win the second round, this will bring in a renewal of the EU spirit, perhaps bringing France back into the motors of European integration," he said.

    A victory by Macron could result in a "breathing space" for European Commission and national leaders in the EU to try and work out a new coherent policy on dealing with both Russia and the hawkish Trump administration in the United States, Exadaktylos suggested.

    "Realistically, we expect Mr. Macron to win. This will definitely mean the buying out of political time for Europe to sort out a common strategy for Russia, but also the chance for Europe to weigh out the intentions of Mr. Trump especially on issues like Syria and North Korea," he said.

    Macron will most likely work with Merkel to reinvigorate the core of the European Union as a global actor as well, Exadaktylos predicted.

    Macron, Le Pen Heading to 2nd Round of French Presidential Election (81)


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