Brexit has reduced Britain to tears, Emmanuel Macron’s protege claims

French prime minister Gabriel Attal, Emmanuel Macron’s protege, said: ’Don’t let’s be like the British, who cried after Brexit.’

Archie Mitchell
Friday 31 May 2024 11:51 BST
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Brexit has reduced Britain to tears, France’s prime minister has said in a bid to quell support for French populists in next month’s European elections.

Gabriel Attal, who was appointed prime minister by president Emmanuel Macron in January, said: “Don’t let’s be like the British, who cried after Brexit.”

Speaking in a radio interview, the 35-year-old was seeking to drum up support for Mr Macron’s centrist candidate list for the European Parliament elections in June.

Gabriel Attal is seen as a protege of Emmanuel Macron
Gabriel Attal is seen as a protege of Emmanuel Macron (AFP via Getty Images)

Polls show that Mr Macron’s list of candidates is backed by around 16 per cent of voters, while Marine Le Pen’s populist National Rally party is backed by more than 30 per cent.

Mr Attal, seen as Mr Macron’s protege, is seeking to tie Ms Le Pen’s National Rally, being fronted by 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, to Brexit.

National Rally used to want France to follow in Britain’s footsteps and leave the EU, dubbed Frexit.

But Ms Le Pen has dropped the policy as most French voters view Brexit as having been a mistake.

Speaking to RTL radio, Mr Attal suggested the party remains secretly committed to pulling France out of Europe, warning of “very dangerous” consequences if it is successful in the European elections.

“Will we be stronger by shutting ourselves away? We will not be stronger by being more alone,” he said.

French prime minister Gabriel Attal warned against France sending the most far-right lawmakers to the EU Parliament
French prime minister Gabriel Attal warned against France sending the most far-right lawmakers to the EU Parliament (AP)

He added: “A large majority of British people regret Brexit and sometimes regret not turning out to vote, or voting for something that was negative for their country.

“Today there is more illegal immigration than ever in the UK since they left the European Union. There are massive economic difficulties in the UK because they left the European Union.”

And, addressing Ms Le Pen’s party, he said: “When you say you are not going to respect the rules of the single market any more, not pay France’s dues and stop respecting most of the treaties, the reality is that we are no longer in the EU.

“Will France be the country that sends the largest contingent of far-right lawmakers to the European parliament?”

Mr Attal’s comments follow heavy criticism from French president Macron’s repeated criticism of Brexit.

Earlier this month Mr Macron claimed leaving the EU has “impoverished the United Kingdom” and “done nothing to solve immigration in the UK”.

He told The Economist: “Well, despite that, some people think it doesn’t look so bad. But nobody dares to say that anything is wrong. And so nobody is taking responsibility for anything.”

Voters in France will go to the polls on 8 June to elect 81 of the 720 Members of the European Parliament.

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