Friday, October 15, 2021

could France be heading toward Frexit?

I celebrate my return to Seoul with some news out of France via Instapundit:

When the United Kingdom succeeded in effecting independence from the European Union, Brexiteers hoped that, in concert with Pitt the Younger, they could say “England has saved herself by her exertions, and will save Europe by her example.” When Pitt voiced these sentiments in the midst of the Napoleonic wars, nine years were to follow before victory at Waterloo.

Today, Britain has yet to enjoy the full promise of sovereignty regained; indeed, there have been as many setbacks for liberty as triumphs. Nevertheless, the Brexit hope remains alive in Britain. And, if what is happening in France turns out to have legs, it is not impossible to imagine France beginning to think about whether it was on the wrong side of Brexit.

France must “regain our legal sovereignty,” Mr. Barnier declares as he campaigns for president. If elected in April 2022, he proposes to halt all immigration from non-EU countries for five years. As a corollary, he would limit the reach of the European Court of Human Rights. Even Germany takes a hit, as Mr. Barnier takes aim at the Teutonic tilt within the EU.

Such campaign screeds are controversial primarily in the bien-pensant salons. Limiting immigration, though, is crosswise to EU ideals — and the Schengen agreement on borderless Europe — that Monsieur Barnier defended when he conspired against UK independence. His volte face is therefore surprising. Is he now endorsing Frexit? Sacre bleu, M. Barnier!

Will France pull the trigger and go full Frexit? I'm betting no, at least for right now. The French leadership certainly isn't ready for such a thing, but the people, as Stephen Green notes, have been "trending rightward" for some time, now. France needs another decade or so before Frexit becomes a serious alternative.

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