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.
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.”
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,”
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.
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.
Front National is making hay from the Brexit debate,” said Giles
Merritt, head of the Friends of Europe think tank in Brussels.
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.
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.
Merritt said it is an error to suppose that the EU would carry on as
a monolithic bloc able to dictate terms after a Brexit vote. “The
British would have pricked the bubble. The Germans are deeply alarmed
at how suddenly the mood is shifting everywhere,” he said.
Pew survey shows that dissatisfaction with the EU has risen to 49pc
in Spain and 48pc in Germany, two countries normally seen as
pro-European. This is roughly the same as in Britain, though
different in character and less intense.