Finally, we see an election won by a clear majority that spells out a stronger mandate for the elected president. At 65/35 is is much easier for Macron to phrase his win as a success for the French people. Macron also sees it as a success for Europe, and that is why it could have a major effect on Brexit.
The President of France is a title and position that was always likely to play a significant role in Brexit negotiations. Part of that is down to their role in the EU. A bigger part of it comes down to their relationship with the UK, politically and physically. Although not strictly a “land border” with the UK, France is the only country with a land connection.
The Macron Immigration View
Macron had a clear view on immigration, favouring the integration of migrants, and more onus on getting people to engage with French culture. That is planned to go hand in hand with shorter times for asylum applications, talent visas, and visas for skilled workers. On the other side of the scale, however, is his call for greater border control and a clearer system of removing those who have been denied access.
This could pose a major problem for May and her claims that she will be blocking immigrants from entering the UK. Macron clearly does not intend to give May an easy run of the issue. We know that Brexit negotiations are getting harder as times go by, but what May had not necessarily banked on was having to face a far more pro-EU President from France.
Perhaps we should be reassured that there is a slightly cooler head in world politics. The past year has seen too many close and surprising results, ranging from Brexit, to the election of Donald Trump. Had Le Pen won, with her far right views, that would have played right into the hands of people like Farage. If that had happened, we would have surely seen another increase in divided nations, shaken by xenophobic views, risking the politics of immigration becoming tangled even more.
The French Presidential result has proved that the far right is not what the French people want; the anti-EU position is not what t he French people want; and a general anti-immigration position is not what the French people want. Unlike the British election history over the past few years, at least those results have come as a rather decisive percentage.
Undoutedly, this means that Macron stands with a much stronger mandate than Theresa May. Even if the Tories with the General Election in June, it is hard to imagine him making May’s increasingly hard-line attitude work in negotiations.