Emmanuel Macron blow: French snub MORE EU as bloc hits list bottom in latest poll

Merkel: Butikofer on how German Chancellor is 'presenting' Macron

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In response to the question “Of the below list, which are the values most important to defend for your life as a citizen?”, 47 percent of respondents put freedom at the top and only 4 percent chose more European construction, leaving the EU at the bottom of the list.

The poll, conducted by Challenges, allowed respondents to pick three possible answers.

The second and third place were won respectively by family (38 percent) and justice (32 percent).

Equality and democracy followed with 30 percent and 26 percent of the votes.

The poll, which showed how little importance is given to the EU in France, was picked up by Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois.

He tweeted: “The beautiful 4 percent for European construction.

“In the political class, it is 99 percent.

“We better understand the gap between the political class and the people.

“We understand it, even more, when all the major economic and social decisions stem from this EU.”

The results come as a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron who has long fought for more integration in the EU and has proposed plans for a European army.

Just this year, MEPs accused Brussels of seeking to “undermine nation-state democracies” after the launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Leaders from the EU Parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group have voiced concerns over the year-long initiative to interact more closely with voters.

It was launched by arch-federalist MEP Guy Verhofstadt, Croatian commissioner Dubravka Suica and Portuguese minister Ana Paula Zacarias.

ECR chief Ryszard Legutko said: “We fear that this process deliberately aims to undermine the nation-state democracies with the opinions of self-appointed leaders and federalist activists.

“At best, it will be a random and unrepresentative mix of voices that have no deeper legitimacy or meaning.

“There is a danger that it will result in a big bloc that leaves everyone disappointed or at odds.”

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On Thursday, EU defence ministers met to discuss plans for the implementation of an EU army.

Germany called on the European Union on Thursday to enable coalitions of the willing within the bloc to rapidly deploy a military force in a crisis as members discussed the lessons learned after the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan.

EU efforts to create a rapid reaction force have been paralysed for more than a decade despite the creation in 2007 of a system of battlegroups of 1,500 troops that have never been used due to disputes over funding and a reluctance to deploy.

But the exit of US-led troops from Afghanistan has brought the subject back into the spotlight with the EU alone potentially unable to evacuate personnel from countries where it is training foreign troops, such as in Mali.

“Sometimes there are events that catalyse history, that create a breakthrough, and I think that Afghanistan is one of these cases,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in Slovenia, adding that he hoped for a plan in October or November.

Borrell urged the bloc to create a rapidly deployable “first entry force” of 5,000 troops to reduce dependence on the United States. He said President Joe Biden was the third consecutive U.S. leader to warn the Europeans that his country was pulling back from interventions abroad in Europe’s backyard.

“It represents a warning for the Europeans, they need to wake (up) and to take their own responsibilities,” he said after chairing a meeting of EU defence ministers in Slovenia.

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