Although most political parties in France officially support the UK’s continued European Union (EU) membership, individual French politicians are increasingly breaking ranks to back Brexit.
The French Socialist Party itself does not advocate Brexit, but EurActiv France reports French National Assembly member Karine Berger thinks differently. For her the way the British government handled the negotiation process caused serious trust issues. She explained:
“The debate showed that the United Kingdom was asking for rewards for not respecting the common rules. Under these conditions, I do not think that a Brexit would harm the European Union.”
Her view is one which is expected to gain currency with French politicians in the coming weeks, particularly among Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) a majority of which EurActiv already says appears to support Brexit.
Last month socialist MEP Virginie Rozière accused the UK of “blackmail”, adding that:
“In exposing a view of Europe that is so at odds with the aims of the European project, the United Kingdom has made its eventual separation from continental Europe inevitable, albeit long and slow.”
Dominique Riquet, a centrist MEP from the pro-European Parti Radical-UDI, represents the view of those who believe Brexit promises a fresh start for the EU as well as Britain. Writing for La Voix Du Nord at the weekend he admitted his view is not politically correct in Brussels, but Brexit is supported by those like him who bemoan the fact European integration has stalled.
I hope the English leave! I have always thought they would be better off outside than inside, so I completely disapprove of the concessions won by Cameron. We need to move towards greater European integration, on the fiscal and social, on the internal and external security… But if Britain is in, it will do all it can to ensure that Europe does not advance.
If the exasperated views of French politicians spread to their colleagues in other parts of the EU, and there is no reason to suggest they won’t, success for the Remain camp in June may prove to be a Pyrrhic victory which consigns the UK to decades or more of painful coexistence with reluctant partners.