As Growth Stagnates Front National Leader Calls for Referendum on Exiting EU and Euro
The Front National, rating the ruling French Socialists at ‘zero’ on their disastrous economic record, are demanding an early referendum on a French exit from the European Union and eurozone as a percursor to recovery.
On Monday the hard-right Front National’s Florian Philippot told France Inter, the national broadcaster, that the party, which won 26% of the national vote in European parliament elections in May, seeks “un grand référendum sur l’appartenance de la France à l’UE”, a large referendum on continued French membership of the European Union.
His call, during the broadcaster’s influential 0820 am interview slot, came as France prepares for its post-holiday return to work amid a slew of worsening economic news. He told the radio interviewer: “the EU is a religion, an ideology … the euro is a religion…even as the euro collapses the eurocrats insist on keeping it alive … the EU is an ideology and an ideology cannot be reformed, we urgently need a referendum on France’s continuing membership of the EU, just as the UK is planning, the (present) system is not democratic, it is an oligarchy and it works against the citizens’ interests…”
Meanwhile the latest Journal de Dimanche-Ifop opinion poll confirms deep voter dissatisfaction with leaders who despite two quarters of economic stagnation refuse point blank to budge from their EU-imposed austerity recipe. The poll showed more than 8 out of 10 French voters lack any confidence in this government which is presiding over record high unemployment and zero growth. Both the French and German economies are in the words of Finance Minister Michel Sapin, “broken”, and some worry a deflationary spiral could soon hit the Eurozone.
Some of the Ifop results are shown here:
This of course is all grist to the Front National’s mill and the hardline party is reaping much benefit from the political and social shambles stalking France, feelings summed up to some extent in the Tweets below:
— Nouvel Observateur (@LeNouvelObs) August 18, 2014
“Tous les feux sont au rouge. C’est un problème, car d’abord il y a la panne, ensuite il y a Le Pen”, dit @gerardfiloche ce matin sur RMC.
— Jean-Jacques Bourdin (@JJBourdin_RMC) August 18, 2014
Indeed Allister Heath writing recently in the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper noted:
“It is hard to exaggerate the trouble that Francois Hollande, France’s president, now finds himself in. It is not just that his popularity has collapsed and that his misguided stewardship of the French economy has crippled his country, helping to deliver a second consecutive quarter of zero growth. The real problem is that France is slowly but surely emerging as the eurozone’s weakest link… There was a time when economists thought that Greece, Spain or even Portugal would trigger the real, final eurozone crisis that would threaten the single currency and potentially lead to the unravelling of the entire bloc. Increasingly, it feels as if it will be France that will eventually emerge as the euro’s biggest threat, though of course the whole rotten structure is likely to stumble on for years to come.”