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Brussels 'crossing fingers' for Macron in French vote
Brussels 'crossing fingers' for Macron in French vote

A host of top Brussels figures led by Jean-Claude Juncker have broken with their usual protocol of not interfering in national elections to openly back the centrist former banker to beat far-right leader Le Pen.

World Bulletin / News Desk

The EU has its money on pro-European presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron in Sunday's French run-off vote, wary of the threat posed by Marine Le Pen who calls for the bloc's destruction.

In the European Union's corridors of power, Macron is seen as more than just a frontline defence against populism as seen with Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump in the US.

To many, 39-year-old Macron represents a breath of fresh air that could offer the embattled bloc a sorely needed chance to push ahead with unifying new projects after years of crisis.

"We are crossing our fingers," one senior EU official said on condition of anonymity.

Macron's gruelling televised debate with Le Pen on Wednesday was "watched widely" at the highest levels of the European institutions, "including by non-French colleagues", the EU official said.

"Of course we see Macron in a positive way. We have the feeling that we can work with Macron because his project isn't to destroy the EU as with Le Pen," the official added.

This week EU Brexit negotiator and former French minister Michel Barnier said he would vote for Macron, saying that France would "stay European" under him.

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