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Britain becoming U.S. vassal state, says French presidential hopeful Macron

PARIS (Reuters) - Britain is becoming subservient to a United States that will be extremely difficult to cooperate with judging by President Donald Trump’s “serious and worrying” first acts, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

Former French minister Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Forward !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, attends a news conference at his campaign headquarters in Paris, France, January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who will hold talks with Trump later on Friday, wants a renewal of the “special relationship” between London and Washington at a time her conservative government redraws its relationship with Europe.

“Britain lived in an equilibrium with Europe,” Macron told France Culture radio. “But now it is becoming a vassal state, meaning it is becoming the junior partner of the United State.”

French opinion polls show Macron, a former investment banker running as an independent in this spring’s presidential election, closing in on the two frontrunners, conservative candidate Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Speaking about Trump, May joked on Thursday that “opposites attract” as she signalled a shift in foreign policy that will bring her position more in line with that of Trump.

Macron said Trump’s early policy moves suggested the United States might become a destabilising force on the world stage.

“What’s happening today with Trump’s first statements and choices is extremely serious and worrying,” Macron said. “It’s firstly a choice that it will be an America that provokes... an America that destabilises things that have been built for decades.”

Macron has previously said he was sure Trump would maintain close ties with the European Union, but on Friday he appeared to concede this may no longer be the case.

“It signifies that the U.S. will no longer be in a position to co-organise globalisation and be the world’s policeman with the European Union,” the former economy minister said.

“The unpredictable choices, the outbursts and the inward-looking United States of Trump no longer guarantees Europe’s security.”

Reporting by John Irish and Emmanuel Jarry; Editing by Andrew Callus and Richard Lough