Macron and France ‘are failing’ on vaccine rollout says Moutet
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And resentment against Brussels is being stoked elsewhere in the EU27, including Italy, Hungary and Poland , Ray Bassett has said. Ireland 's former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, was speaking during a webinar hosted by Yale University this evening entitled Peacebuilding in the Wake of Brexit , during which he discussed the future of UK/Ireland relations.
Mr Bassett, an advocate of a so-called 'Irexit' – and Irish exit from the European Union, also considered Ireland's place in the EU now that the UK has quit.
And he suggested the bloc was now on shaky ground, not least across the English Channel, where Mr Macron is currently under intense pressure as a result of France's sluggish rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in comparison with neighbouring countries.
He said: "Certainly the European Union without the United Kingdom is a less comfortable place for Ireland and Denmark and a few of the other countries.
Emmanuel Macron may struggle to win re-election, said Mr Bassett (Image: GETTY)
Ray Bassett speaks during the webinar (Image: Yale)
The European Union is a fairly unstable place below the surface
"The European Union is a fairly unstable place below the surface.
"Apart from the difficulties they are having with Hungary and with Poland, whom I believe would leave the European Union if the economic situation was good enough for them, you just have to look across at France.
"You can see that euroscepticism is rampant in France.
Mateusz Morawiecki and Viktor Orban, the Prime Ministers of Poland and Hungary respectively (Image: PA)
"It is almost second to the United Kingdom in terms of people who are opposed to the European Union.
"In fact, President Macron said he would not hold a referendum in France because he could not guarantee whether they would win it."
Mr Bassett, who published his book, Ireland and the EU Post Brexit, last year, added: "Remember, the last two Presidents of France have both been one term and President Macron does not look like he has got very good prospects at the moment.
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Marine Le Pen may be Mr Macron’s opponent next year (Image: PA)
Luigi Paragone launched his No Europe for Italy party last year (Image: GETTY)
"That may change – if he manages to get to the second round against Marine Le Pen he may win it."
"Also in Germany the main opposition is eurosceptic.
"And in Italy there is even more euroscepticism.”
Referring to his own country, Mr Bassett said: "I'm mixing my metaphors, but for us to jump on this ship and put all our eggs in that basket seems a very poor long-term decision.
Emmanuel Macron factfile (Image: Express)
"And the European Union is going to have huge difficulties with elections coming up, with the various forces that are there."
With respect to the aforementioned Poland and Hungary, both of which have faced censure by Brussels over internal legal reforms, he said: "I do have some sympathy for the central European countries, particularly about the rule of law.
"Because in Ireland the government appoints the judges, in France the government appoints the judges.
"And yet that isn't a problem, but in central Europe, if a government moves towards a situation like they have in France and Ireland, then they are going to have huge difficulties.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, has her own problems, said Mr Bassett (Image: GETTY)
"And I honestly believe the European Union should not be interfering in the minutiae of states.
"It should be a grouping of countries that come together for mutual benefit, and not see itself in the longer term as a federation.
"Europe is phenomenally interesting, and all the changes that are occurring within the European Union.
"And there is no guarantee that the present stability is going to continue."
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