France shuns Europe as Brexit revolt spreads, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

There may be more exits if the British vote to exit the EU. From Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at telegraph.co.uk:

France has turned even more viscerally eurosceptic than Britain over recent months, profoundly altering the political geography of Europe and making it impossible to judge how Paris might respond to Brexit.

An intractable economic crisis has been eating away at the legitimacy of the French governing elites for much of this decade. This has now combined with a collapse in the credibility of the government, and mounting anger over immigration.

A pan-European survey by the Pew Research Center released today found that 61pc of French voters have an “unfavourable” view, compared to 48pc in the UK.

A clear majority is opposed to “ever closer union” and wants powers returned to the French parliament, a finding that sits badly with the insistence by President Francois Hollande that “more Europe” is the answer to the EU’s woes.

It is a protest against the elites,” said Professor Brigitte Granville, a French economist at Queen Mary University of London. “There are 5000 people in charge of everything in France. They are all linked by school and marriage, and they are tight.”

Prof Granville said the mechanisms of monetary union have upset the Franco-German strategic marriage, wounding the French psyche. “The EU was sold to the French people as a `partnership’ of equals with Germany. But it has been very clear since 2010 that this is not the case. Everybody could see that Germany decided everything in Greece,” she said.

The death of the Monnet dream in the EU’s anchor state poses an existential threat to the European project and is running in parallel to what is happening in Britain.

The Front National’s Marine Le Pen is leading the polls for the presidential elections in 2017 with vows to restore the French franc and smash the EU edifice. While it has long been assumed that she could never win an outright majority, nobody is quite so sure after the anti-incumbent upset in Austria last month.

“The Front National is making hay from the Brexit debate,” said Giles Merritt, head of the Friends of Europe think tank in Brussels.

“The EU policy elites are in panic. If the British vote to leave the shock will be so ghastly that they will finally wake up and realize that they can no longer ignore demands for democratic reform,” he said.

“They may have to dissolve the EU as it is and try to reinvent it, both in order to bring the Brits back and because they fear that the whole political order will be swept away unless they do,” he said.

To continue reading: France shuns Europe as Brexit revolt spreads

One response to “France shuns Europe as Brexit revolt spreads, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

  1. Pingback: Brexit, Nexit, Vlexit and Frexit | Marcus Ampe's Space

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