Four in 10 French voters want Britain to leave the European Union (EU) because they think the bloc has become “too English”.
A study by polling firm TNS Sofres found that France has the highest level of support for Brexit outside the UK, mainly due to ongoing anti-British sentiment among the French people.
When Britain first tried to join what was then the European Economic Community (EEC) in the 1960s, the application was twice vetoed by French President Charles de Gaulle.
“[De Gaulle] predicted that the British would change the rules and stay closer to the Americans,” French journalist and political commentator Alain Duhamel told RTL. “He was completely right.”
A similar feeling persists several decades later: “The French will not weep if the British leave because they think Europe has already become too English.”
The polling firm surveyed voters in France, Germany, Spain and Poland, as well as the UK, to find out whether they would like Britain to leave or stay in the European Union. By far the most hostile nation to Britain’s continued membership was France, polling well ahead of Germany (with 13 per cent of voters wanting Britain out of the EU), followed by Spain and Poland (with seven per cent each).
Last month, a poll found that a majority of French voters want their own vote on EU membership, with 53 per cent in favour a referendum on a “Frexit”.
Front National leader Marine Le Pen has also called for every European Union member state to have its own referendum, telling a conference: “The British will vote in two months, this is a key moment in European history.
“I also hope the French will not have to wait too long for a similar opportunity. I hope that all peoples can express themselves on this subject.”