France warns of “Brexit” referendum

PARIS, June 17 (KUNA) — French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that the June 23 British referendum on European Union membership was a danger to the EU Bloc and that other member countries must be discouraged from taking a similar action.
Speaking on “RTL” radio, Macron said he feared that the British vote could be held on other issues or questions and not on the real issue of membership, at hand.
“There should first be a citizens’ debate. If you hold a referendum, often people do not answer the question but (address) the context,” he said.
He said that the referendum was “dangerous” and he warned against a contagion impact on other EU countries, and he criticised Britain for having espoused “ultra-liberal” policies and now seeking to correct this.
He said Britain was taking “the rest of the Europe hostage” by organising the vote which is split almost 50/50 between those in favour of leaving and those who want to remain part of the EU, polls show.
He urged the EU to take steps to ensure that the special status sought and obtained by Britain in several areas is not sought by other European Union members.
The French leadership, overall, has urged Britain to stay in the EU for trade and security reasons, principally, and Macron said a negative British vote would be “the end of an era” for the EU. (end) jk.mt