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France’s Macron: I will not Govern without Germany | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Emmanuel Macron, a candidate for the 2017 French presidential elections. Photo: Reuters

Paris- French presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that he was eager to consolidate France’s alliance with Germany if he won the elections.

“We need a German-French reboot for Europe … When I will be in government, I will make it clear from the beginning that I will not govern without Germany. I will not govern without Europe,” Macron told the German Bild newspaper in an interview.

“Closer cooperation in Europe is always the best answer, whether with respect to migration, a competitive economy, or combatting terrorism. We have to say this out loud. If you are too cowardly to do so, you are already dead. I am entirely pro-European; my competitors are not,” he said.

On Britain, Macron said it was necessary to negotiate firmly with the UK to leave the European Union.

“If you want access to the EU domestic market, you have to participate in the costs and comply with the EU’s legal order. If the British do not want that, it’s perfectly fine. I respect that. But then there can also be no exceptions and loopholes that weaken the solidarity within the EU. As French President, I will only work for France and the EU,” he told the daily.

Macron stressed his “common ground” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on economic reform, fiscal discipline and Europe’s future after talks on Thursday.

The 39-year-old former economy minister surged from outsider to a frontrunner ahead of polls in April and May.

Meanwhile, legal woes piled higher for France’s conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon when a judicial source said he will be probed over luxury suits he received as gifts.

The probe into possible influence peddling will be part of an ongoing investigation into a fake jobs scandal that saw the 63-year-old Fillon charged on Tuesday with misuse of public funds, a judicial source told Agence France Presse.

It comes a little over six weeks ahead of France’s two-stage presidential election, with polls showing Fillon failing to make it past the April 23 first round.

Investigators are now focusing on clothing furnished in February by luxury Paris tailor Arnys worth some 13,000 euros and paid for by an unnamed wealthy friend, the judicial source said.

The Journal du Dimanche newspaper claimed that an anonymous benefactor had paid nearly 48,500 euros for Arnys garments for the former prime minister since 2012, including the clothes paid for by cheque last month.

The other gifts were paid for in cash, the paper reported.

Fillon, who has admitted that a friend had paid for two suits in February, repeated assertions that he was the target of a “witch hunt” by journalists.