EU BACKLASH: Brexit ‘TSUNAMI’ expected as 34 referendums set to rock union
A study by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) revealed so-called extreme “insurgent parties” are calling for a total of 34 public votes - with matters ranging from their countries’ membership of the EU to refugee policy.
The ECFR report blamed Europe’s fear of Turkey joining the EU and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “refugees welcome” policy as major reasons behind a rapid rise in support for both right-wing and far-left, anti-EU parties and their attempts to take back control of their countries.
Mark Leonard of ECFR said: “Many of these insurgent parties have views on foreign policy that are closer to President Putin than President Obama.
"They are overturning an elite foreign policy consensus based on Atlanticism and liberal democracy that has dominated for the last fifty years.”
The report predicted political turmoil and calls for in-out EU votes in a number of countries, in what it said would be a “political earthquake”.
ECFR said Brexit would particularly boost the French Front National party’s calls for a referendum. The far-right party’s leader Marine Le Pen Tweeted “victory for freedom!” in the aftermath of the Leave vote, before re-iterating her calls for a similar opportunity in France.
She said: “As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries.”
The report said the party “hopes Brexit will trigger the use of more referenda Europe-wide, and wants to have a referendum on taking France out of the eurozone” - a ‘Frexit’.
Other countries were also highlighted in the report as being likely locations for the next EU referendum, including the Netherlands.
The report said a ‘Nexit’ could be sparked due to the perception of “the inflow of refugees as a threat to national identity and the welfare state”.
The right-wing Dutch Party for Freedom is already calling for a referendum, with a poll this month showing that 54 per cent of citizens supported such an opportunity.
Despite being a founder member of the EU, party leader Geert Wilders has promised to make a referendum vote a priority in next spring’s elections - and the party is currently leading in the polls.
An ‘Italexit’ is also a possibility, with a survey revealing 48 per cent of Italians saying they would leave the EU if presented with a referendum.
The leader of the right-wing Northern League party Tweeted a celebratory message following last week’s Leave victory: “Long live the courage of free citizens!"
He added: “Heart, head and pride defeated lies, threats and blackmail. THANK YOU, UK, now it's our turn.”
Growing anti-EU campaigns in other states are also highlighted, including Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and Sweden.
Mr Leonard concluded in the ECFR report: “We can’t dismiss them as fringe parties – they represent a revolution in European foreign policy. Their chosen weapon is using referenda to whip up popular support on their pet issues.
“Even where they don’t win power directly, they are so politically powerful that they are forcing mainstream parties to adopt their positions.”
The growing discontent comes as the EU moves forward with plans to turn the bloc into a superstate.
Foreign ministers of France and Germany are plotting to unveil a blueprint to do away with individual states.
This would clear the way for an EU Army, which Eurocrats have long supported.
EU president Jean-Claude Juncker earlier this week spoke to the European Parliament over Brexit.
The Brussels chief said: “I respect what the British people have said, and I would like to be respected.
“But we have got to see some consequences.
“I don’t think we should condone shadow boxing or cat and mouse games.
“It is clear what the British people want and we should act accordingly.”