EU power grab: Emmanuel Macron 'weaponising anti-Britishness' to seize leadership of bloc

Political commentator Anne-Élisabeth Moutet made the comment after former EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier’s announcement of his bid for the French presidency. Ms Moutet said that while Mr Barnier was the “ogre of Brexit”, Britain should nevertheless “pray” that he makes the second round of the election in April 2022.

Writing in the Telegraph, she insisted Mr Macron would be “catastrophic for harmonious French-British relations”.

She explained: “Macron is a known quantity, a man enamoured of his own brilliance, who does not understand the British mind and believes international relations are a zero-sum game.

“He has weaponised anti-Britishness in French politics the way many UK politicians have done it against France.

“Macron has redefined himself as the next natural leader of the EU, for which he needs bogeymen.”

The EU’s ex-chief Brexit negotiator, who this year released his memoirs from the talks, has previously hinted about standing in the French presidential elections.

In April, he told French newspaper Le Figaro: “Since the end of my Brexit mission I’ve listened a lot, had lots of discussions and worked on building a team and a project.

“The world around us is dangerous, unstable and fragile.

“Our country is doing badly and we need a change-over.”

Opinion polls show that Mr Macron is likely to face far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the final round of the French presidential election.

Mr Macron won the 2017 vote with his new centrist party La République en Marche.