Thursday, 2 December 2021

French rightwing mayor creates “Brexit Road” in honour of British vote

PARIS: A town in southern France is set to get a “Brexit Road” in honour of Britain voting to leave the European Union. Far-right mayor, Julien Sanchez, decided a currently nameless street in Beaucaire in the Gard region will be called “Rue du Brexit”. The move was announced on Twitter and Mr Sanchez said he wanted to “pay homage to the choice of the sovereign British people.” There is a European theme to road names in the area and others are named after Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet, two key proponents of European integration. “We have already received lots of messages of thanks and congratulations from British people. British MPs are starting to talk about it. I think that the people of Beaucaire are very happy that Europeans have reclaimed their sovereignty, and perhaps they will want to reclaim their own as well,” Mr Sanchez said. French tweets were split between approval and denunciation, with critics lamenting the use of jargon for a street name, “and an Anglicism to boot”. Some noted gleefully that the street itself is a circular road to nowhere through a rather bleak part of town.

Others commented that the street’s situation between Schuman and Monnet meant that it was leading from Europe back to Europe again. “It’s a street in an industrial zone, and isn’t going to shake up the daily lives of Beaucaire residents,” Sanchez told radio France Bleu. But he added that so many streets in France are named after founders of a “Europe smothering the people” that he felt the creation of rue du Brexit “is justified to rebalance things”. By giving Brexit a fixed anchor in Beaucaire, meanwhile, Sanchez created an attention-grabbing reminder of Le Pen’s promise to hold a referendum on France’s EU membership should she win next year’s presidential elections. Situated in the Gard department, about 18 miles (30km) east of Nîmes, 17th-century Beaucaire lies in what became one of the FN’s first electoral strongholds. Nearby Saint-Gilles elected France’s first Front National mayor in 1989, with Sanchez’s 2014 election in Beaucaire one of its more recent wins on pledges to halt immigration and restore law and order.

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