France: Florian Philippot cuts European flag
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Britain completed its departure from the European Union at the end of last year following 47 years of membership, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisting the country will flourish outside the bloc. The UK’s vaccination programme has received several plaudits, particularly achieving the milestone of administering a vaccine jab to half of all adults just a few months after launching. But anti-EU sentiment has been growing throughout the continent and particulartly in France, driven further by the backlash against Brussels over the sluggish rollout of its own vaccination programme.
On Sunday, nationalist and hard Eurosceptic political party Les Patriotes held a demonstration in Paris to again campaign for France to leave the EU.
The party’s founder Florian Philippot, former Vice President of the Front National, posted a series of tweets on the day, as well as a number of photos and a video from the event.
He first wrote on Twitter: “Claiming to lead France while remaining in the EU, the euro, the ECHR, Schengen and NATO, is like believing you can drive a car without wheels, steering wheel or engine!
“Fake! Unmask the impostors to stop being the eternal betrayed!”
Thirty minutes later, he posted: “Just now I hear on the radio a ‘specialist in Europe’ saying all the good things he thinks about the EU: ‘Europe has been great in suspending the Maastricht criteria’.
‘You got it right: the EU is great when it suspends its own rules!’
Later that afternoon, Mr Philippot shared a video on Twitter of the EU flag being destroyed and cut through at the demonstration with a large pair of scissors.
Several supporters at the rally can be heard changing: “Frexit!”
He wrote alongside this: “We celebrated the EU in our own way. Vive la France! Frexit quickly!”
In another tweet, the Les Patriotes founder wrote: “Superb rally for Freedom facing Coronamadness and for Frexit this Sunday in Paris!
“And in 14 cities in France!
“Well done, resistance fighters! You are amazing!”
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Generation Frexit, the campaign group pushing for France to leave the EU, also launched a furious attack against Brussels.
The group wrote on Twitter: “The Eurexit movement (@EurexitNow) takes advantage of this Europe Day to remind people that Europe is not the EU, contrary to the propaganda of Europeanists!”
The latest demonstration comes after a think tank warned the failures of the French vaccination effort will create a “knock-on effect” on its economy that will ramp up calls to leave the EU.
Robert Oulds, Director of Bruges Group and author of Moralitis, A Cultural Virus, warned the failures of the vaccination programme would see the country lag behind several other nations who have seen much better results from their own jab efforts.
He said as a result, the sluggish reopening of the economy could leave many citizens struggling and pointing the finger of blame at someone, most likely French President Emmanuel Macron and the EU.
Mr Oulds told Express.co.uk: “France has failed to produce its vaccine and French scientists were not as advanced as other countries are and did not get their vaccine ready.
“And then they’re also in the situation where they are in the European Union and its vaccine rollout has cost lives.
“This is not only going to create a problem where more people will die from Covid… and they will have to have more lockdowns across the European Union.
“But it will not only cost lives but also damage the economy because just as other countries are moving out of their lockdowns and moving out of the restrictions like the UK is.
“The economy will open up and we will get back to proper economic growth and we should have a V-shaped recovery.
“France has massive debts and they have the problems of the Euro where they’re losing economic growth to Germany as the currency benefits them.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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