The coronavirus crisis has proved to be a challenging test for French President Emmanuel Macron. His popularity has dramatically dropped, while the one of his Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has thrived. In June, Mr Macron’s approval rating dropped to 38 percent from 39 percent a month ago, while Mr Philippe’s approval rating gained four points to 50 percent, according to a poll by Ifop for the Journal Du Dimanche newspaper.
Earlier this week, a BVA survey for RTL and Orange showed that Mr Philippe has been gaining in popularity during the pandemic, with 54 percent of respondents saying they trust him, over 38 percent for Mr Macron.
These polls have renewed speculation that the French President could ditch Mr Philippe – but also that the latter could become the most dangerous challenger to Mr Macron at the 2022 Presidential election.
According to unearthed reports, if the mayor of the Normandy port of Le Havre does launch a successful bid for the Élysée, things for Britain might look a bit less bright.
Mr Philippe was largely unknown before the pandemic and has rarely made comments about Britain’s exit from the EU.
The most known intervention made by the French Prime Minister came in 2017, when he issued a stark warning to London.
Speaking on top of Paris’ mint, Mr Philippe set out a raft of measures designed to welcome bankers from London to Paris after Brexit.
Tax breaks and international schools were part of the offer.
He said:”You can regret this Brexit decision or welcome it, but it’s a fact.
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In a paper for the Politeia think-tank, leading UK and EU financial regulatory lawyer Barney Reynolds revealed how France had already failed in his attempts to attract “thousands of jobs” in financial services from London to Paris.
Mr Reynolds wrote at the time: “Britain remains one of the most stable, predictable and transparent places where the financial sector can do business and trade globally and with the EU.
“That will not change after Brexit. A no deal outcome is not to be feared.
“It is likely in the long term to have benefits which could even be as good as mutual recognition.”
He pointed out that EU clients could have continued to use UK-based financial services without any arrangement in place and with Britain having no interference on its regulations.