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Warning: a referendum may kill the European elections

A referendum AND an European election might be too much to ask for the 26th of May.

It’s always hard to turn the spotlight on European elections. But this is what one could expect in France from a pro-European team who came to power two years ago.

The idea of a referendum that would be held simultaneously with the European vote is not great in that regard. The French president wants to hold a “great national debate” by mid-March in an attempt to find a way out of the ‘yellow vest’ crisis. According to Journal du dimanche some of the questions resulting from the “Great National Debate” could be asked on the last Sunday of May. Yellow vests want more democracy and direct consultations, and the referendum could focus on this. It could help bring more people voting.

But stealing the debate is the last thing the EU needs.

“Don’t steal Europe its election” reacted on Sunday Yannick Jadot, main candidate for the French Greens.

Discussions around the EU elections are already going in all directions, except the EU.

One example is the issue of abortion. The main candidate of the centre-right, François-Xavier Bellamy, whose candidacy was announced this week, says he is against abortion as a Christian. This generated a lot of attention and press articles but as my teachers used to say: this is totally off topic.

Local issues and taxes are also a hot topic. This is because municipal elections take place in 2020, and a lot of candidates are already gearing up. We like it or not, but taxes still are mainly a national topic.

Cohesion policy, international trade, agriculture and rule of law, climate and environment: those heavy EU issues are not on the table.  So better not adding more off-topic issues.  

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