France’s right-wing National Front (FN) party called for a referendum to determine the country’s membership in the European Union on Thursday, drawing parallels with the U.K.’s call for a membership vote.
Florian Philippot, FN deputy leader and European Parliament member, said that French President Francois Hollande should “follow the British example.”
“The time has come to ask everybody in Europe Yes or No - if they want sovereignty to decide on their own future,” Philippot said, according to the Local.
He later echoed the call on Twitter. "Like the British, the French deserve a referendum on the European Union."
On Thursday, the U.K.’s Conservative Party, which swept to victory in May’s general elections on a euroskeptic platform, published its question for the referendum it plans to hold by 2017: "Should the UK remain a member of the EU?"
— Florian Philippot (@f_philippot) May 28, 2015
The FN, which has made significant gains in local and European elections in recent years, currently holds 2 seats in the national assembly and 23 in the European Parliament, despite several allegations of xenophobia and racism against its members.
Philippot warned that if Hollande did not raise the possibility of a referendum, the FN would put it at “the heart” of the election campaign of FN leader Marine Le Pen, who will contest the 2017 presidential elections, the EU Observer reported.
Philippot had also reportedly said earlier in the week that the FN wanted a “referendum republic,” where any issue could be brought to a popular vote if it earns over 500,000 supporters.
French daily Le Figaro published a poll on Friday where it found that 62 percent of French voters would refuse the terms of the EU constitution -- which failed to be ratified in 2005 -- if they were offered the same terms today.
However, the same poll found mixed results on French sentiment towards the regional grouping. It found that 62 percent of respondents wanted France to have full budgetary autonomy and 60 percent also wanted it to leave the Schengen Agreement, which relaxes travel controls between the EU's 26 member nations.
Le Figaro’s poll also found that 59 percent of respondents wanted a unified EU finance minister post and 71 percent favored staying in the euro zone.
Hollande’s Socialist Party was taken aback in last year’s European elections when the FN topped the polls. Hollande defended the embattled EU at the time. "Exiting from Europe is exiting from history," he wrote in an op-ed in French newspaper Le Monde. "France wants more than progress in Europe, it wants a progressive Europe,” he added, calling on voters to reject the FN’s nationalist policies.
The increasingly embattled EU faces a growing tide of euroskepticism as voters across the region strongly disagree with the policies of the regional body. Earlier this month, populist anti-EU politician Andrzej Duda became Poland’s president. Finland’s new government also appointed anti-bailout politician Timo Soini as the country’s foreign and Europe minister.