According to a French politics professor, the “ability to stand up to the European Union” is something that French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour would like in Boris Johnson. He will find “like-minded” people in his government who share his political views on immigration.
Dr David Lees, an Associate Professor of French Studies at Warwick University and a specialist on far-right politics, talked to Express about the ascent of populist Eric Zemmour and his bid for the French presidency in the country’s capital. Dr Lees said that if Mr Zemmour were to win the 2022 election, he might see a “thaw” in ties between the United Kingdom and France, feeling that he and Boris Johnson had characteristics in common.
According to the French political scholar, Mr Zemmour, who visited the United Kingdom last month in search of backing for his presidential candidacy, was alleged to have seen “like-minded” individuals in the British government.
Dr Lees was questioned by Express if Mr Zemmour being president of France would help to enhance ties between the United Kingdom and France.
“I think it’s actually more complicated in terms of relationship with the UK than past we might think,” the French political analyst remarked.
“Macron politically doesn’t have anything in common with Boris Johnson, he is somebody who is very strong in terms of Europe, and he’s now positioning himself as the leader of the European Union…”
“Somebody who is ultimately anti-Brexit, very liberal in many ways, particularly socially, Boris Johnson is also liberal but in a different way…”
“And certainly somebody who does not have time for personality over policy, Macron is a man of substance and has been like that for some time.”
“That I think is where he’s very different from Zemmour… who doesn’t have that long term political substance or a long term political victory ambition.”
Dr Lees went on to say that he thinks Mr Zemmour and Mr Johnson and members of his cabinet will see eye to eye because of their respective approaches.
He went on to say: “So I actually think [Zemmour] will see something in Boris Johnson he quite likes, which is the capacity to stand up to the European Union and clearly Britain has done that now….”
“Zemmour, I think, would like to consider France’s relationship with the European Union. He considers himself as a strange right-wing proto-Gaullist.”
“In that view of the world supranational bodies, so anything that comes above the nation-state is a bad thing and that includes NATO, includes the European Union.”
Additionally, Dr Lees predicts that Mr Zemmour will find “like-minded” individuals in Mr Johnson’s cabinet on immigration concerns, which would eventually “thaw” ties between France and the United Kingdom.
Mr Zemmour, according to the researcher, is unlikely to win the French presidential race in 2022. However, if he were to win, it would benefit the bilateral relationship between the two countries.