Overwhelmed by frequency & variations of French polls? Huff Post has performed a public service by averaging leading polls over many months. It has arranged trends into a fascinating, moving graphic showing changing configurations of the major players 1/

Key points. President Macron has been floating ahead of the pack in first round voting intentions for several months on 23 to 25 %. The only major change has been the rise of the racist pundit Eric Zemmour, who shot from 5% to 17%  in a couple of weeks, taking votes mostly.. 2/
... but not entirely from Marine Le Pen and overtaking  her  in some polls. Zemmour has stopped rising in the last month, however, and now averages 17.5%, just ahead of MLP 3/
The strongest of five possible centre-right candidates, Xavier Bertrand, has been flatlining for weeks on circa 13%. The Left? Divided and weak ENDS

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More from @Mij_Europe

9 Nov
To dissuade UKG from triggering Article 16, EU is drawing up a package of short/medium term retaliatory measures which cd be put to @DavidGHFrost by @MarosSefcovic on Fri. As one senior official says: "In order to avoid escalation, you have to demonstrate escalation dominance" 1/
Imp, while EU's package will likely include medium-term plans to suspend TCA, it could also incl options for short-term tariff retaliation BEFORE arbitration proceedings. (Assumption to date has been tariffs wd require conclusion of infringement procedure or arbitration panel) 2/
There will be lots of nuances & legal complexities, but EU side believes certain provisions within TCA - especially Articles 506 & 773 - would enable swifter, more immediate tariff retaliation. While 506 primarily relates to fish, it can be used by EU to threaten escalation..
Read 7 tweets
7 Nov
It will still be a bit of time before Govt notifies EU on A16. Suspect early Dec. Not because UKG thinks negs w/EU might still deliver. It doesn't. But bc it wants to ensure A16 move is as legally watertight as possible - domestically & internationally 1/

This will take a bit of time. Domestically - as @pmdfoster first reported, AG @SuellaBraverman (don't forget, a former chair of the hardline Brexiteer ERG) has asked for wide range of legal opinions from outside Govt in hope she can give Article 16 move her seal of approval 2/
If domestic legislation is required, ministers hope they can rely on secondary legislation (= only a vote in Commons & Lords) rather than primary legislation (= a Bill needing to clear many more hurdles.. first, second, third reading, committee & report stages etc) 3/
Read 5 tweets
5 Nov
The UK is going to invoke Article 16. They'll argue it's surgical - "it's only Articles 5 & 7" etc. But EU will (rightly) see it as nuclear

I expect no intermediate step (tariffs). Just an immediate, emergency EU Council & political decision to *suspend* the UK-EU trade deal 1/
This, which is = "No deal", won't come into effect until 2023 (+ 1yr). Put differently: next year will see a re-run of Brexit (renegotiation of Irish border issue, with threat of no deal tariffs looming in the background). Can you actually believe we're heading back there??! 2/
Some say @BorisJohnson will bottle it & do a deal. Maybe. But the gaps between the two sides are massive, not just on ECJ. For eg: UKG officials say they can't stand up @EU_Commission claim that its proposals substantially reduce burden on biz trading GB-NI by 80% 3/
Read 8 tweets
4 Nov
.@DavidGHFrost & @CBeaune will meet in Paris today to talk fish. What's the latest state of play & mood on 🐟? 1/
Senior UKG officials remain of the view the evidence presented by Fr Govt remains weak - despite low threshold test they're being asked to meet (in English waters, evidence of fishing at least one day in each of the four years between 2012-16) 2/
The UKG also doesn't want to be seen to be responding to blackmail (choking Calais-Dover strait; in past, threats to interrupt electricity supply to Jersey). There's also a belief that other member states (& Commission) don't fully support the French 3/
Read 7 tweets
30 Oct
The spin and translation imposed on the French PM’s letter is misleading. The bulk of the letter - 98% to use a topical figure – is asking Brussels to ensure that the UK respects its post Brexit deal 1/
The last line of the first page says it “is essential to  demonstrate to European public opinion that respect for formal commitments is not negotiable and that  leaving the Union has more disadvantages than remaining within it.” The first part of this sentence has been cut from..
..the translation to make it sound harsher. Castex is not calling for Britain to be “damaged by Brexit”. He is saying that European public opinion must see that the UK is made to respect its legal promises and therefore understand that leaving the EU is more painful than positive
Read 4 tweets
29 Oct
Late to this long, in-depth tour de force by Elisabeth Zerofsky into why Tucker Carlson (and other US conservative radicals) favour Hungary's Viktor Orban in NYT Magazine. I do, however, think the piece is far too soft on both Carlson and his Magyar hero 1/
The piece does note that Carlson “evinced little familiarity with the internal affairs of Hungary” - which is true. But the thing is, he made no attempt to find out 2/
Although he certainly talked about seemingly random meetings with Orban sympathisers during his week-long stay in Orbanistan, he strangely failed to find any opponents, and this despite Budapest being the largest centre of anti-Orban, liberal-left supporters in the country 3/
Read 10 tweets

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