France could follow the UK out of the EU due to an increase in support for Eurosceptic Marine Le Pen, it has been warned.
Michel Barnier, the former European Union chief negotiator, said “Frexit” could be the end result of growing dissatisfaction about immigration and red tape.
Polling in France has put Le Pen, who leads the far-right National Rally party, ahead of the pro-EU Emmanuel Macron for the first round of next year’s presidential elections, though Macron is predicted to win the second round.
Barnier called for French people to learn why Britain voted for Brexit as he spoke of the “social unrest and anger” in the country over Europe’s failure to defend its borders.
Speaking at an event about Brexit, he said: “We could draw some lessons from Brexit for ourselves. It’s now too late for the UK but not for us.”
He added that “it’s important for us to listen to the anger that was expressed in the UK, and to implement the kind of changes that are necessary to better understand and reassure the European citizens that remain.”
Polling suggests that Le Pen would beat Macron, who is pro-EU, by two percentage points in the first round of next year’s elections.
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