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03/12/2016

French opinion split on EU’s future

Future EU

French opinion split on EU’s future

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A ten-year prospective study issued by the French government shows that the population is divided over the future of the European Union. EurActiv France reports.

Europe's future remains a dividing topic in France. A recent study, titled 'What France in 10 years?', published by a government advisory body to the Prime Minister, highlights the lack of consensus.

According to a survey by pollsters BVA used in the study, 28% of French are in favour of simple cooperation between EU member states whilst 23% would rather see the EU project come to an end. On the other hand, 21% back strengthened integration between the member states and 26% back closer ties only between the eurozone states.

“The most surprising aspect of the study is that each proposed option accounts for a quarter of votes, which confirms that no one has a majority amongst the French,” said Delphine Chauffaut, the study's author.

According to the study, French people lack information on the EU, which they consider distant and complex. “The lack of information hampers support for the European project and restricts its ability to look to the future,” the report notes.

EU role for peace and the environment

French people support the EU’s role in certain sectors, notably on the environment (66%) and energy (59%). However on issues such as employment (70%), social protection (75%) and the budget (67%), the French government appears to be more legitimate than the EU.

Half of those surveyed believe that Europe must embody peace. According to the study, this shows that many French people worry about what the future decade holds. In response to the question "what should the EU guarantee in the next ten years?", only 31% said democracy, which according to the study could be interpreted as democratic disillusion.

The report argues that “French citizens are disappointed with our representative democracy and the behaviour of our elected. They encourage the moralisation of public affairs, fiscal savings by ending multiple mandates and limiting parliamentary allowances.”

Background

In August 2013, French President François Hollande announced a strategy to define the government's main political priorities over the next 10 years.

The strategy concentrates on five issues: the future of the current production model, reforming the social model, the sustainability of the economic growth model, changes in society and the European project.

Timeline

  • Mid-April: Ten-year prospective study to be presented to the French President.

Further Reading