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Now French voters call for FREXIT after Germany face demands for EU referendum

MORE than half of French voters want their own in-out referendum on European Union (EU) membership, renewing fears in Brussels that a Brexit could topple the 28-country bloc.

Angela Merkel - Francois Hollande - Eiffel TowerGETTY
53 per cent of the French voted in favour of holding a referendum on the country’s membership
With Britons set to go to the polls in June, there are increasing signs the UK’s referendum is paving the way for other European countries to question their own relationship with Brussels.
In a fresh blow to the EU, 53 per cent of the French voted in favour of holding a UK-style referendum on the country’s membership.
Brexit would change the entire nature of the EU 
Dr David Lees
Such a response from one of the EU’s founder members will undoubtedly ruffle feathers in Brussels.
Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen welcomed the poll results in a recent blog post, saying French demands for a referendum were “extremely encouraging”.
A quarter (25 per cent) of French people also want to see an end of free movement throughout Europe after the EU’s Schengen zone was heavily criticised in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
Marine Le Pen talking to the pressGETTY
Marine Le Pen welcomed the poll results
Alongside Germany, France is considered the central pillar of the European project.
But a struggling economy and a faltering government has fuelled a rising Eurosceptic sentiment in France, as well as an escalating migrant crisis and a surge in popularity for the far-right FN.
And with France’s neighbours across the Channel winning negotiations with Brussels, many French voters are asking why their government cannot do the same. 
In a University of Edinburgh survey of 8,000 voters in Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Spain and Sweden, France was the only country where a majority said they would back holding a UK-style EU referendum.
But France is not the first European country where voters are demanding their own chance to leave the EU, with both the Netherlands and the Czech Republic saying they want to follow Britain in holding an in-out referendum.
In a Dutch poll, 53 per cent supported an in-out vote, while the Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka warned a "Czexit" could follow if Britons choose to leave the EU in June.
Anand Menon, a professor of European politics at King’s College, said: “The British referendum is a laboratory for other referendums in Europe.
“Such trivialisation could produce devastating effects.”
While a central member of the EU, France, like Britain, has always been traditionally hostile to further European integration.
In 2005 French voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposed European Constitution, sending political reverberations throughout the EU.
A third (33 per cent) of French people surveyed would back a so-called Frexit, while 45 per cent would vote to remain and 22 per cent are undecided, according to the University of Edinburgh poll.


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