French, Dutch far-right call for EU membership referendums after Brexit

Le Pen Wilders

Le Pen Wilders

France’s far right National Front party and Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders called for referendums in their own countries on European Union membership Friday in the wake of the UK vote to leave the bloc.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front (FN) party, cheered the Brexit vote.

“Victory for freedom!” said Le Pen, who displayed the British flag on her Twitter page. “We now need to hold the same referendum in France and in (other) EU countries.”

Her deputy Florian Philippot said it was now France’s turn to vote to leave the EU. “The liberty of peoples always wins in the end! Bravo to the United Kingdom,” he wrote on Twitter. “Our turn now #Brexit #Frexit.”

Far-right Netherlands MP Wilders echoed Le Pen saying, “The Dutch people deserve a referendum as well. The Party for Freedom consequently demands a referendum on NExit, a Dutch EU exit.”

Ifop opinion poll analyst Frederic Dabi said Britain’s “Leave” vote could go a long way to boosting a wider anti-EU agenda.

“It’s good news for Le Pen because the European issue was one of the key drags on FN voting,” Dabi said. “But the UK is setting a precedent. If it goes well there, it will make the FN’s stance look much more mainstream.”

Le Pen had said last month that if she won next year’s presidential election she would start negotiations on sovereignty issues with the EU and, if this failed, she would ask voters to back leaving the EU in a referendum.

Le Pen is the front-runner among likely candidates ahead of the 2017 presidential vote, but polls see her losing the run-off.

From Frexit to NExit

Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) lawmaker Wilders was also quick to jump on the Brexit bandwagon.

“We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy,” he said in a statement. “If I become prime minister, there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well.”

Elections are not due in the Netherlands until next year, but since the refugee crisis in Europe the Freedom Party (PVV) has seen a significant boost.

According to the statement sent by Wilders’ PVV, recent polls showed a majority of Dutch people in favour of holding a referendum, and that most would vote to leave.