Former French president trying to portray himself as best man for France to deal with the aftermath of UK’s vote to leave the EU
France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy has seized on the aftermath of the UK’s Brexit vote to try to style himself as the best candidate to represent the right in next year’s French presidential election.
Sarkozy – who supported the UK remaining in the EU and warned during the campaign that Brexit would be a catastrophe for Britain – is now seizing on the uncertainty to try to win over voters on the French right, portraying himself as the best person to deal with a crisis.
Invoking his self-styled image as an international troubleshooter who as president faced troubles such as the 2008 financial crisis, he said European leaders must now turn Brexit “into an opportunity to change Europe”.
Sarkozy has suggested the EU should be completely refounded with a new treaty and a rewrite of the Schengen accords, which allow for border-free travel. He wants a “Schengen 2” that limits free circulation to European citizens only. He has said that after such a treaty is agreed it should be voted on in referendums across the EU.
Is it good to see Sarkozy’s influence back in French politics in the aftermath of Brexit. Also Tony Blair and Theresa May in the UK. If the center right takes the lead of reformation of the EU (including an exit of the UK but close economic ties), Brexit will have been a very good thing indeed, reducing the influence of the EU on issues like immigration, but maintaining economic ties/travel/visas, etc. This is what the vote was about. This also prevents the hard liners/extremists from gaining too much control - on either side, the secular, socialist EU bureaucrats or the right wing nationalists.