French Eurosceptics have launched a petition demanding a referendum on France’s continued membership of the European Union.
Launched by referendum-ue.org, the campaign explains that since 55 per cent of French citizens voted to reject the European Constitution in 2005, no referendum on the European Union has taken place.
“However, two major changes have just occurred, and these changes will cost the French dearly”, the site claims.
The first key change to France’s membership is Brexit and the financial implications that has on the remaining net contributors to the EU budget. It is estimated that France’s budget contribution will increase by €5bn a year, totalling €29bn.
Add to this the financial injection as part of the EU’s “Relaunch Plan” following the Covid-19 pandemic which is expected to set French taxpayers back €40bn.
“Can we agree to pay such sums without being consulted? NO,” the campaign concludes.
The campaign cites 7 key reasons why French citizens are deserving of a say on continued membership:
- It is high time to take stock of the EU and the euro
- The European Union is costing us more and more and the French “must be consulted on this exorbitant contribution”
- Our democracy is deadlocked
- We must send a strong signal to the political class
- 57% of French people do not trust the EU
- The EU is not forever – do we have an interest in staying in a system that threatens to collapse?
- Uniting the French in a collective project
Existing signatories of the petition include a multitude of academics and campaigners such as former MEP Florian Philippot, president of Generation Frexit Charles-Henri Gallois and top journalist Alexis Poulin.
The petition, only recently launched has already attracted 16,000 signatures and is rapidly gaining pace.
Just this week, former chief Brexit negotiator for the European Union, Michel Barnier told a conference in Le Touquet that France must learn the many lessons which led the British people to vote to leave the bloc, or face its very own Frexit.
“We can find, not just in the UK, but here in France, in the northern and eastern regions… citizens who want to leave the EU,” admitted Barnier.
“They say the EU did not respond to legitimate desires of citizens, there is social unrest or anger, one might say, because there’s no protection of external borders, some people say, immigration flows are impacting us… and Europe is also often criticised for its red tape and complexity,” he added.
Firebrand nationalist Marine Le Pen is leading in some polls when faced up with Macron in the presidential election scheduled for next April, with some predicting she can beat the incumbent, a move that would put France’s continued EU membership up in the air.