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    Emmanuel Macron, French presidential candidate and leader of the movement En Marche!, during a news conference following the first round of the election.

    'No Changes to EU-Russia Relations' if Macron Wins French Presidential Election

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    Macron, Le Pen Heading to 2nd Round of French Presidential Election (81)
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    Former French Economics Minister Emmanuel Macron is likely to support continued sanctions against Russia by his government and the European Union if he wins the second round of the French presidential elections next month, European analysts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — French and EU relations with Russia, including the continuing of economic sanctions were likely to remain unchanged if Macron won, University of Management and Economics in Vilnius Financial Program Director Tom Hashimoto said on Tuesday.

    "If (or perhaps when) Macron wins, it will be 'business as usual'… He will be committed to the European Union, but he is unlikely to lead the EU foreign policy at this early stage of his presidency. So, no changes to French-Russia or EU-Russia relations," Hashimoto said.

    Conservative Francois Fillon and Socialist Party candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon were narrowly edged out by Macron and Marine Le Pen in the first round of voting in the presidential election on Sunday.

    Hashimoto acknowledged that Macron is expected to win the second round of the election, but attracts little enthusiasm while his opponent Le Pen is showing tactical skill.

    "Macron… is the 'left-over' choice… Ms. Le Pen just stepped down as the head of her party, signaling her ability [in] political tactics, while Macron, citing one of French commentators, acted like a ‘child king.’" he said.

    Macron was likely to prove a weak, unpopular and ineffective president if he is elected, Hashimoto predicted.

    "He is likely to be as unpopular as his predecessors if his centrist message is not carried through with clear visions and policies," he explained.

    However, a Le Pen victory could prove even more divisive and destabilizing for France, Hashimoto warned.

    "If Le Pen wins surprisingly, then people will protest. Her first 100 days will be devoted to internal politics with occasional talks for the French version of the Brexit," he said.

    Le Pen was likely to disrupt France’s relations with the European Union, but her victory could herald improved relations with both Russia and the United States, Hashimoto suggested.

    Historian and international affairs commentator Matthew Dal Santo agreed that Macron was the most anti-Russian of the four main French presidential candidates.

    "I think Macron is certain to win because he is supported by the French political and media establishments, yet he is the only one of the four main candidates who has not advocated restoring good relations with Russia," he said.

    Macron’s foreign policy would just continue the discredited, similar policies of current President Francois Hollande and previous president Nicolas Sarkozy, Dal Santo warned.

    "Macron will try to revive the old Euro-Atlantic bloc tying together the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany against an increasingly isolated Russia," he concluded.

    Even if elected, Macron was certain to prove an unsuccessful and discredited president, Dal Santo cautioned.

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

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