Britain’s decision to exit the European Union could encourage the other members to follow suit, a French deputy has said.
“Brexit will inspire a wave of referendums which will finish off the European Union (EU) for good,” Philip Cordery said, quoted by the UK’s Daily Express.
He said opposition to the Brussels-based EU was soaring “everywhere” – and, given the right leadership, “almost every country” in the 28-country bloc could vote to leave.
“I think what happened in the UK at the referendum could have happened almost every other country in the European Union – except in the other countries no Prime Minister would have been as irresponsible as to ask for a referendum,” he said.
“If we look today, Euroscepticism is growing everywhere, populist movements are growing everywhere in Europe.”
The half-English politician said more and more people were objecting to the EU’s economic restrictions and rapidly losing patience with dictatorial and stubborn Eurocrats.
He said he was disappointed at Britain’s decision this summer to leave the EU, but acknowledged the decision was based on well-founded and understandable concerns.
The former general secretary of the Party of European Socialists added: “We’ve suffered from 10 years of tough austerity policies at the European level and people don’t see the EU as progress in terms of jobs, in terms of the economy, in terms of social progress….I regret the decision that the British people have taken but it’s there and we can’t not respect it because this would be dramatic for the rise in populism in Europe if the word of the people is not respected it would only increase their strength.”