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National Front demands EU referendum in France

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Should the French also have a referendum on their membership in the EU? Photo: AFP
08:58 CEST+02:00
David Cameron's pledge to hold an in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU has been backed by France's far right National Front party, which wants the same in France, where views of the EU have soured over the years.

Should the French people also be given a vote on whether to stay in or out of the European Union?

That's the view of France's National Front party which has backed David Cameron's stance in offering the British public a chance to decide whether the country's future belongs in the EU or not.

Vice-president of the party Florian Philippot tweeted his views to his 43,000 followers.

"Like the British, the French deserve a referendum on the European Union," he said.

It's not the first time the National Front's views have fallen in line with those of Cameron.

In 2013 party leader Marine Le Pen praised the PM's efforts to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU and said she wanted to take back control of France's borders in the same way Britain has remained out of the Schengen area.

The idea of a referendum in France is not on the cards but Philippot's call would likely receive support outside his own party and the result of any vote would be a close run thing.

A survey carried out last year to mark Europe Day revealed that only 51 percent of French people want their country to remain a member of the 28-nation bloc.

That was down from 67 percent a decade ago, according to the CSA survey.

The poll showed that voters - 70 percent of them - are disillusioned with the European Union because of its failure to help stem rising unemployment in France, which has a record 3.3 million people out of work.

Sixty-three of those surveyed said they were disappointed with the EU because of the decline of social protection, while 60 percent cited growing numbers of immigrants as another reason for falling out of love with the European project masterminded by France and Germany.

Fifty-two percent said they believed France was losing its national identity.

The French also made their feelings clear in last year's European elections when the anti-EU, anti-immigration National Front party topped the polls.

At the time President Hollande tried to rally support for the EU.

"Exiting from Europe is exiting from history," he wrote, adding that to abandon the euro single currency - which the Front National is urging - would lead to the nation's decline.

While acknowledging disappointment with the EU especially in combatting unemployment, Hollande called for action by a "progressive" Europe.

Story continues below…

After meeting with Britain's David Cameron in Paris on Thursday Hollande told the UK Prime Minister that France wanted Britain to remain in the EU.

 

 

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