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Frexit: Will France be next to leave the EU?

Frexit: Will France be next to leave the EU?

Opposition leader Le Pen calls for a referendum, polls suggest rising support for ‘Frexit’

With EU leadership in Brussels still coming to terms with Britain leaving the union, following the last week’s stunning performance by the Brexit campaign in the referendum, popular movements across Europe have renewed their calls to leave the European Union. Nowhere is the opposition to the EU politically better organised than in France. In a poll conducted by University of Edinburgh in March this year, more than half of the French respondents were in favour of a Frexit — France leaving the EU.

Brexit comes as a shot in the arm for Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s right-wing Front National, as she prepares for the presidential election coming up next year. Le Pen’s anti-immigration and Eurosceptic party has shown impressive run in the country’s regional elections. Now Le Pen wants to make France’s EU membership a central theme of her presidential campaign, as EU establishes itself as the driving force behind the mass immigration and open border policy, with Brussels actively blocking and penalising EU member state from enforcing even basic border controls. In the aftermath of last November’s Paris attacks, a growing number of people in French want to see an end to the open border policy.

In 1950s, the European project started as a French-German initiative to unify Europe. In the wake of Brexit, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, have renewed their call for “more Europe”, doubling down on their rhetoric of stripping European nation states of constitutional sovereignty and national identity. Only a move in France — the founding member of the EU — to turn away from the “European Project” can put an end this transnational union.

Following the UK results, Front National’s Vice-President Florian Philippot, also called for a similar vote in his country, saying, “[France] cannot escape a referendum”. British newspaper The Guardian writes:

France’s Front National (FN) hailed Brexit as a clear boost for Marine Le Pen’s presidential bid next spring, as well as a move that gave momentum to the party’s anti-Europe and anti-immigration line.

“Victory for Freedom! As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries,” Le Pen wrote on Twitter.

A jubilant Le Pen delivered a Brexit victory speech from her party’s headquarters outside Paris, styling the UK referendum result as just the start of an unstoppable new wave of support for parties and movements like the Front National. “The UK has begun a movement that can’t be stopped,” she said.

Le Pen swiftly changed her social media handles to the Union flag and stated her “warmest and friendliest” congratulations to “very brave” Boris Johnson and the leave campaign. Specially printed Front National Brexit posters showed hands breaking free from chains, with the caption “Now it’s France’s turn”.

Back in 2005, 55 percent of French electorates voted “No” in a referendum seeking to ratify a common EU constitution. Despite the popular rejection, two years later the French parliament accepted the Lisbon Treaty that serves as the constitutional basis for the EU.

Disregarding popular vote and referenda has a long tradition in the EU. Even in the case of Brexit, it still remains to be see if the UK government would honour the mandate of the people. Prime Minister David Cameron has postponed the enforcement the Article 50 — a provisions of the Lisbon Treaty — thereby postponing the start of the negotiations with Brussels to leave the EU at least till October 2016. There is an accompanying chorus of diehard EU supporters within the ruling establishment and in the liberal media urging the parliament to override the results of the last week’s referendum.

Any future vote in France on the lines of UK referendum is expected to face stiff resistance from various quarters of the French electorates. French farmers are the top beneficiaries of the EU farm subsidies. A generation of French youth has been indoctrinated in the “European ideals” and raised with the sense of entitlement. Students, farmers, migrants and labour unions will fight to keep their privileges and subsidised life-styles that EU promises to guarantee.

Video: What’s next for the EU after Brexit

[Cover image courtesy AFP new agency, YouTube]

[Author is analyst reporting from the Netherlands]

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Comments

The idea of a preference cascade could have some application here.

Apparently, the EU was not all that swell in the eyes of the common person on the street.

But there are some very nice rice bowls that are threatened, and their owners know how to fight dirty.

Socialism never works.

Even if you attempt to make it work by trying economies of scale. One country, or 28 27, it’s going to fail.

    Ragspierre in reply to rinardman. | June 28, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I hate to have to keep saying this, but it isn’t socialism. It IS fascist economics, where you have BIG compliant businesses collaborating with BIG GOVERNMENT. In the case of the EU, it’s taken on a new model. HUGE GOVERNMENT. But it’s still the same fascist model.

      Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | June 28, 2016 at 11:21 am

      And Fascism (as in Mussolini’s ideology, not the generic term of abuse it had become by the late 1930s) is a Marxist heresy. So it is a form of socialism, albeit rather mutated. (This very useful article compares it to the relationship between Unitarianism and Christianity.)

        Ragspierre in reply to Milhouse. | June 28, 2016 at 11:32 am

        Not to beat this to death, but fascism is a form of Collectivism.

        Socialism is its own thing, and another cousin in the family of Collectivism.

        Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | June 28, 2016 at 4:20 pm

        It’s only a heresy depending on who is claiming the right to define orthodoxy.

        Mussolini was more like a Mehshevik. He knew that the Bolsheviks were going to destroy the economy of Russia if they fired or executed all they managers in shop owners. The people wouldn’t be able to run the machinery or the factory. And you can’t eliminate income inequality; you have to pay some people more than others or there’s no point in taking the responsibility. Sure enough, the Bolsheviks drove Russia into economic ruin before they figured it out.

        I think it was while he was observing the Bolshevik fiasco that he developed his fascist ideas. which he considered a temporary stage before passing on into more pure Marxism.

      nordic_prince in reply to Ragspierre. | June 28, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Any way you slice it, it amounts to elites trying to tell the unwashed masses what’s best for them, how they ought to live, how they ought to vote, what they are to think, what they should accept and tolerate, and what should be the objects of their two-minute hate. The unwashed masses are telling the elites to stuff it, and of course the elites highly resent that.

      Kind of like what’s going on in this country ~

        Ragspierre in reply to nordic_prince. | June 28, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        Well, up to a point, yes.

        I’ve been saying for years that Obama’s favorite economic model is fascism. Just as was Nixon’s, and just as is T-rump’s. And I’ve been saying that…of the Collectivist cousins…that is the single most dangerous to Americans, because it is the hardest to identify and the most seemingly innocuous.

        And one of the things that a lot of Brexit supporters here don’t get is that what they did is swell, but it doesn’t mean they won’t choose unwisely now that they’ve taken back their choices. There’s nothing that says they are going to become a free-market, low-regulation, low tax nation. They could easily go the other direction. It’s just more their choice now.

          Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | June 28, 2016 at 5:09 pm

          True, it could go either way, but since within the EU the UK was almost always a minority voice for freer trade, lower taxes, and fewer subsidies and regulations, it stands to reason that once freed from the EU’s constraints it will move somewhat in that direction. It’s not likely to become a free-trade low-tax low-regulation utopia, but it is likely to become closer to those ideals than it is now.

What all this is across the world is an inevitable civil war between long established nationalism & resultant traditions & the latest edition of a internationalist state, university educated oligarchy of elites that believe themselves to be the “New Man.” The roots of which were found in both communism & fascism in a historical sense.

“New Man” believe themselves finally able to impose a world governance thru an inevitable convergence of developing technology, a world shrinking from transportation, communication, trade, world corporatism, universal education modeling, media influencing & ownership ; all the elements of a mindset composed of the usual suspects that believe themselves to be the next step in human evolution. “New Man.”

Both communist & fascist history is shot thru with such beliefs, thinking, rationalizations, narcissism & hubris. Thus the excuses with inevitable failures of “It hasn’t been done by the right combination of peoples & resources yet.” Two aspects of mankind are in play. The search for a new Caesar, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan dynastic superior man, father figure. And humanities inherent quest for such a figure to lead mankind into an era of unprecedented peace & prosperity. This is what you always get when you put man at the pinnacle. When you renounce a Higher Purpose with resultant principles, integrity, morality et-al. Natural Law & Social Contract.

You get the resultant combination of fools & failures.

In concept, the notion of some sort of intraEuropean co-operative structure makes a whole lot of sense. The inefficiency of all of those borders is appalling, from a US perspective. Imagine having to stop and show your passport at every State border in the US: Californians and Texans might not feel it to much, but those who live on the East Coast would find it hard to put up with the traffic stops, alone, much less separate rules for every business district.

According to some of my Hungarian contacts, the process of qualifying for EU membership led to the cleaning up of their water pollution, and led to better economic prospects in other ways, as well.

I would suggest, however, that it would be deeply surprising if the Europeans as a whole got the right balance and allocation of powers in this new co-operative structure on the first try. We did not.

The proponents of the EU would be well advised to pay attention to what the British and French opposition are saying. The Brits have just demonstrated that they are not cranks, and that there are substantial, legitimate concerns that must be addressed. If those concerns are properly addressed, perhaps the EU will actually be able to capture the economic prosperity it promised.

    Milhouse in reply to Valerie. | June 28, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Yes, a cooperative structure does make a lot of sense, and I don’t think anyone is denying that. UK membership in the Common Market made sense, and even in the European Community. But when they turned it into the European Union that was a step too far. As the “Leave” campaign kept saying, it was political union that they objected to, not neighborly cooperation.

The British and French situations are not close parallels. Britain has been a reluctant participant in the EU project, and was never fully “in”. Not so for France. The people who run France see a European Super-State, one dominated and controlled by—naturellement—France, as the best hope for a return to the glory days when the polices of even the most minor European powers could cause seismic effects on the other side of the world. The fatuousness of any such plan should be obvious, at least to anyone who isn’t French. Any such Super-State could indeed increase European gravitas in world affairs (though not to any overwhelming degree), but it will obviously be dominated by Germany, not France. But the French will persist with their fantasy, and I expect France will be the last country to abandon the EU experiment.

The grass roots in France think otherwise. But—for that reason—they’ll never be given the opportunity to vote the country out.

Meanwhile, things will be noisy. The globalists seem to have been genuinely caught flat-footed by Brexit. And now they’re facing a decision they’re not really ready for—do they rush the schedule for the planned formation of the European Super-State, or do they hunker down and retrench against the populist movements for exit? The timetable for the Super-State project has been accelerated, going from a time-constant measured in decades to one measured in months. Incredibly, they seem to have missed the cause … and are still missing it.

Brexit. Frexit. Grexit. ItaLeave. DONEmark. PolEND. And so on, and so on…

Full map here: http://i.imgur.com/3Mk7HtD.jpg

Subotai Bahadur | June 28, 2016 at 4:18 pm

The attitude of French governments, historically, towards what the French people want has been benign contempt alternating with hysteria. I rather expect that any attempt to remove themselves from the EU will be met with active and forceful defiance. France has had 5 Republics, 2 monarchies, two Empires, a Directory, a Consulate, and a Commune since 1789. That is an entirely different constitutional form every 20 years or so; with the transition rarely being peaceful. In fact, they are almost 40 years overdue for such. They are not going to leave the control of the Vierte Reich as easily as Britain was able to.

Subotai Bahadur

Xenomethean | June 28, 2016 at 5:34 pm

I can’t wait for the complete collapse of the EU, Oh a great day it will be for Europe to have sovereign nations once more.

France won’t leave the EU. Their Foreign Minister is actively working with the German Foreign Minister to implement a European superstate. It’s their chance to be somebody.

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