Emmanuel Macron was challenged for his opposition to a lengthy Brexit delay after European leaders discussed nine-hours before conceding Britain a six-month extension. The French President has had to contend with growing dissent toward his leadership during the past year, with protesters rioting across France for 19 weekends in a row to oppose his tax and reform plans. Swedish MEP Peter Lundgren warned Mr Macron to focus on issues facing him at home and to avoid bringing “that mess” to European institutions.
Mr Lundgren told Channel 4 News: “President Macron, he has his hands full at home, I would say.
“If you look at what happened, he promised everything to everyone and then he found out it’s not that easy to deliver that.
“Now he has massive riots all over France to deal with. So, sorry Mr Macron, we don’t want that mess in the rest of Europe.”
The Swedish Democrat MEP also suggested the EU had provided the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage with a boost ahead of the European parliamentary election with their decision to grant an extension.
The European Parliament elections in 2014 saw Ukip come out on top in a tight contest with 27.49 percent of the vote and 24 MEPs, followed by the Labour Party (25.4 percent and 20 MEPs) and Conservative Party (23.93 percent and 19 MEPs).
But with the Brexit crisis engulfing the Tories since the EU referendum results in June 2016, and huge internal splits deepening over their handling of negotiations, the results could look very different in a few weeks time.
Mr Lundgren continued: “I think it will be a massive support for Farage.
“If they don’t deliver the Brexit as promised, and they go into a second referendum, they will see Farage back in the building with a lot of MEPs with him.
“I am sure of that.”
A new Open Europe poll conducted by Hanbury Strategy of 2,000 people between April 5-8 showed nearly half (48.1 percent) of Leave voters said they were either likely or very likely to support the Brexit Party in the upcoming elections, compared to 18 percent of Remain voters.
A third (33.4 percent) of Remain voters also said they were “likely” or “very likely” to back Change UK – formerly known as The Independent Group (TIG) – which they were told is in favour of a second referendum on Britain’s exit from the EU.
In contrast, 22.7 percent of Leave voters suggested they are either “likely” or “very likely” to support that party.
Following the announcement Britain had received a further Brexit delay until October 31, a Downing Street source revealed the Government had asked civil servants to slow down contingency plans for a no deal scenario.
The source said: “In common with the rest of Government, we have stood down our no-deal operational planning with immediate effect”.
Kent County Council Highways subsequently confirmed it was “standing down” work on Operation Brock, the £15million operation to install a contraflow system to help with possible disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Steel barriers and a 50mph speed limit have already been installed as part of preparations.