>> She lost an election gamble that was supposed to strengthen her majority. He's riding high on successive poll victories. Weakened UK Prime Minister Theresa May meeting French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday with both her position and her Brexit strategy in the spotlight. May is under intense pressure to soften her approach to Brexit days before EU divorce talks begin.
We stand at a critical time.>> They'll still start on time, she said, in Paris. But it's hardly the start she was looking for. She called last week's snap election to strengthen her mandate, casting herself as the only leader competent enough to navigate two years of complex negotiations.
Instead, she lost the majority she held, and has been forced to seek a coalition with the Northern Irish Party to prop her up. By contrast, Macron, elected president by a landslide in May, is also on course to take the lion's share of parliamentary seats.
And he's a strong advocate of the European Union like his ally, Germany's Angela Merkel.
>> The door back into the EU will remain open to the UK, he told May, until the Brexit talks end.>> Meeting lawmakers from her Conservative Party on Monday, May recognized that she'd now have to listen to a range of opinions. What she wants is a so-called hard Brexit, whereby the UK restricts immigration from EU countries even if that means having to leave the single market.
But two-thirds of economists polled by Reuters say that now looks less likely. May has also warned that she sees no deal with Brussels as better than a bad deal, threatening to walk away without one if the EU doesn't meet her demands. Playing hardball on that too may now prove a challenge.