French more supportive of a Brexit than the British are

A new poll shows there is more support for Britain quitting the EU in France than there is Britain, where voters must decide whether to stay or go in June’s referendum.

French more supportive of a Brexit than the British are
Photo: AFP

It might sound like an April Fools’ Day joke, but it isn’t.

A new survey published in Le Parisien in France on Friday by Odoxa revealed how much support there was for a Brexit in the main countries in Europe.

The results show stark differences in enthusiasm towards Britain remaining in the EU throughout various countries in the bloc.

The Spanish are the warmest towards Britain staying the EU with 76 percent favourable to the UK staying in the EU, followed by the Italians (67 percent) and the Germans (65 percent).

Then there was a big drop to the British with only 55 percent in support of “Bremaining” in the UK.

That would clearly be enough to avoid a Brexit, which would disappoint a lot French people, given then only 54 percent of them are in favour of the UK staying in Europe.

President of Odoxa Gaël Sliman believes the recent demands made by UK Prime Minister David Cameron on other European countries as well as the anti-EU tone of the Brexit debate have left the French fed up with “perfidious Albion”.

“The irritation of the French towards the attitude of the British towards the EU is being to play a role as the demands from London seem to be abusive,” he said.

“In January 2013 it was far clearer that the French were against a Brexit,” Sliman added.

Last month The Local reported how French essayist Edouard Tétreau argued that a Brexit would be a “windfall for France and Paris”.

“In a few months the City of London will lose the essence of its raison d’être – to be the financial hub of Europe.

“But when it's transformed into an offshore (literally) fiscal paradise the City of London would force away all the banks and asset management funds who want to continue to operate in the European market, without the barriers caused by regulations and taxes that would be applied to London-based institutions once they are outside the Union.

“Thousands of managers, lawyers, financiers, and also the heads of the European subsidiaries of multi-national companies would have to leave the UK to remain within the EU to continue their work.

“Paris is easily the city, along with Berlin, that is best placed to welcome their talents.

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Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.