Macrons crusade against the world exposed with major ultimatum for trade with EU

Macron’s French EU presidency speech analysed by expert

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France holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the next six months. A central part of the French presidency is a bid to introduce mirror clauses when it comes to trade.

This would see Brussels demand countries outside the EU match their production standards and do not undercut their workers with weaker rules on the environment.

In a speech last week, Mr Macron insisted the EU must push for mirror clauses in every deal.

The French President argues it is only fair for non-European farmers to meet the standards of their European counterparts who are being forced to be greener.

However Mr Macron is expected to face opposition from those in favour of free trade in the European Commission who will want to avoid higher prices for consumers.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis discussed Paris’s push for mirror clauses with French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire earlier this month.

Mr Dombrovskis said any attempts to force up food production standards in countries outside the EU through mirror clauses “need to minimise disruptions of trade [and] need to not be more far-reaching than strictly necessary”.

Meanwhile an EU trade diplomat told Politico: “It’s very difficult to see how this would work.”

French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said he was on a “veritable crusade” to build momentum among fellow ministers.

He said: “Europe must impose its standards on others and not have others’ standards imposed on it.”

A report on the legal issues raised by the mirror clauses with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules is due by the end of June.

However, the push for mirror clauses could be affected by France’s presidential election in April.

The European Commission is preparing a report on the legal issues of mirror clauses compared with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

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Mr Denormandie, an ally of Mr Marcon, has urged the Commission to pick up the pace in compiling the report ahead of the French presidential election.

French voters go to the polls in April to pick a new leader, with Mr Macron expected to run.

He has not officially announced he will seek a second term but it is thought to be certain he will throw his hat into the ring.

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