Have the French fallen out of love with Europe?

Although France is a founding member of the European Union, surveys show Euroscepticism is on the rise in the nation. In the lead up to the EU elections, RFI looks at what's feeding the disenchantment and what, if anything, can be done to rekindle the flame.

The European project has been fuelled by French men. Jean Monnet and Robert Schumann helped lay the foundations for what would become the EU, Jacques Delors founded the single currency and Giscard d’Estaing, François Mitterrand and incumbent President Emmanuel Macron have all championed Europe and its values of peace, unity and democracy.

But surveys suggest France's love affair with Europe is going through a rocky patch.

The European Commission's 2023 Eurobarometer ranked France bottom of the 27 member states with only a third saying they trusted the EU. It also found the French were the most pessimistic about the EU's future.

A poll published on May 8 showed 46 percent were “worried” about Europe, while another survey showed half were not interested in EU elections.

“Mistrust of the EU is higher in France than our neighbours,” says Laurence de Nervaux, head of the think tank Destin Commun, citing its recent research.

“Only 41 percent of the French consider belonging to EU is a good thing compared to 54 percent of Germans and 61 percent of the Spanish.”

Meanwhile, the number of people saying the EU had a negative impact on their lives went up from 27 percent to 37 percent between 2021 and 2024.

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
'Europe could die': France's Macron urges leaders to scale up EU defences
How France will help decide the 2024 European elections
Podcast: Pro-Palestinian student protests, French euroscepticism, Channel Tunnel