Published On: Mon, Oct 28th, 2019

France Brexit panic: Poll shows fear over impact of UK exit on EU | World | News

The poll, conducted by Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting for newspaper Le Figaro, showed, while 66 percent of French people think Brexit will hurt the EU, 74 percent think that the UK will be the hardest hit by the divorce. Some 70 percent of respondents said that Britain will be “the biggest loser” in Brexit. The survey also found 58 percent of those polled believe that the years-long Brexit drama will “discourage” other countries from leaving the EU; compared with 41 percent who said the opposite.

A previous Odoxa poll carried out in the wake of the referendum in June 2016 found that, at the time, 74 percent of French people thought that the Brexit vote would encourage other EU states to leave.

The poll also showed growing disillusionment with the bloc: only 26 percent described the EU as a “source of hope,” compared with 31 percent in June 2016 and 61 percent in 2003.

More than three years since the UK voted to leave the EU, the government and parliament are still debating over how, when and even whether Brexit should happen.

But the two sides got one step closer to finalising the divorce on Monday after European Council President Donald Tusk said that the leaders of the remaining 27 EU states had agreed to accept London’s request for an extension until January 31, 2020.  

“The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020,” Mr Tusk said in a tweet.

A “flextension” implies that the UK could leave before the deadline if a deal is approved by parliament.

He added the decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure later in the week.

The bloc will stress the extension, the third granted to the UK in less than a year, will not be used to renegotiate the divorce agreement again and that London should not delay other essential work by the EU on projects from budgets to climate policies.

Britain was due to leave the EU on Thursday, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced by opponents to request a delay after he was defeated in parliament over the sequencing of the ratification of his exit deal.

The PM had pledged to take the UK out of the bloc by October 31 “no matter what,” but the law, known as the Benn act, also required him to accept the EU’s offer.  

The government on Sunday ramped up pressure on lawmakers to back Mr Johnson’s bid to hold a snap election before Christmas in a bid to break the Brexit impasse, saying the country was being held “hostage” by parliament.

Mr Johnson wants parliament to approve an election on December 12 in return for having more time to approve his divorce deal. But he needs the support of two-thirds of parliament’s 650 lawmakers for a new election. A vote is due in parliament later on Monday.

All political parties say an election is the best way to break the standoff over Brexit, but disagree over its timing.

• The Odoxa poll of 1,005 people aged 18 and over was conducted online between October 23-24.

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