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Could French elections rock the bloc?

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 01:50

With just four weeks to go before voting gets underway in France, Ivor Bennett reports on the political divisions in Europe and how they threaten to shake up the EU.

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Europhiles should look away now... For them, this is a terrifying sight. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FAR-RIGHT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, MARINE LE PEN, SAYING: "The European Union will die because the people don't want it anymore. We'll confirm once again that arrogant and hegemonic empires are destined to perish." It's less than four weeks until France votes for its next President. Although polls suggest it won't be Marine Le Pen, a large chunk of voters are still undecided. And her promise of a referendum on EU membership has helped galvanise support. (SOUNDBITE) (French) 56-YEAR-OLD BANK EMPLOYEE, MARIE-DOMINIQUE ROSSIGNOL, SAYING: "I think that Europe hasn't brought us anything at all. I think it is a catastrophe." But for Frexit to happen, both legislative houses would need to agree. A reality that could help soften the earthquake of a Le Pen win. SOUNDBITE (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, IG, SAYING: "It could be another one of those moments where if it did happen, and it still looks unlikely, the immediate impact could be relatively muted. A bit like with Brexit and Trump, the market has a sell-off but then recovers, because they realise that actually things aren't quite as black and white as they imagined." That may change depending on what happens in Germany. Europe's other key electoral test. A win in the Saarland state elections has boosted Angela Merkel's chances of re-election in September. But markets know a lot could happen between now and then. SOUNDBITE (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, IG, SAYING: "The possibilities are there for upsets in France, the Brexit negotiations and heaven forbid another terrorist outrage in Europe that could damage the popularity. But there we're dealing with potential surprises. At the moment her path to a successful win looks relatively assured." A sentiment shared it seems by German companies. The influential IFO index showing an unexpected rise of business morale in March to its highest level in nearly 6 years.

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Could French elections rock the bloc?

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 01:50