French trust in the European Union has taken a dramatic nosedive, a pro-Brussels think-tank has revealed.
Around six out of 10 people in France questioned said they “do not trust” Brussels, the Jacques Delors Institute’s study indicated. The country’s lack of trust in the EU has jumped to 58 percent – a dramatic rise of 10 points since Emmanuel Macron’s election as president. Just 32 percent of participants said they could trust the EU, while the remaining 10 percent didn’t express a judgement.
The findings place France ahead of the United Kingdom as the country with the least faith in the bloc’s institutions.
On average, just 47 percent of participants from across the bloc said they couldn’t trust the EU, while 43 percent do.
The study was undertaken in November last year, but only made public today. Lead researcher Thierry Chopin said there was no reason to believe the EU’s management in the coronavirus pandemic has done much to boost support in the bloc.
He said: “There has been a continuous decline since the day after the election of Emmanuel Macron until there point where ’ambivalents’ have not become the majority in France.”
The report describes “ambivalent” as Europeans who are neither “supporters” of Brussels nor “eurosceptic” in their views.
It claims “ambivalents” are driven towards “eurosceptism” because of a lack of understanding about of the EU’s inner workings.
The media, schools and politicians are blamed because only 48 percent of “ambivalents” are said to know how the EU works, and 64 percent consider Brussels’ institutions to be too “distant”.
Mr Chopin added: “We have seen it before with the euro and the migrants.
“If under exceptional circumstances, like the COVID-19 crisis, the European leaders fail to display flawless unity and solidarity, then the ambivalents will be more and more tempted by the national withdrawal, convinced that the national state is the only one able to protect them.”
The findings in France rank the country alongside the UK, which has since left the EU in January.
Only 56 percent of Britons were said to have no trust in the EU, while 29 percent were said to be supporters of the bloc.
Greece was the only country to display more eurosceptism, with 62 percent of respondents expressing little faith in Brussels.
But the country had more supporters than France, with 34 percent of respondents having trust in the bloc.
Charles-Henri Gallois, economic spokesman for the eurosceptic Union Populaire Reublicaine party, said: “The French with the COVID-19 crisis are even more aware of how the EU is useless.
“We voted in 2005 against the European Constitution. We are at a turning point: we know that the current EU is bad. Nevertheless, they are still thinking that we can change it.
“When they will be aware that you cannot change it, Frexit will win. I hope it will be the case soon.