A part which is far from being negligible. One in three French people say they were shocked by the presence of the European flag under the Arc de Triomphe on January 1, according to a CSA poll for CNEWS, published on Thursday
The star flag was briefly installed in place of the tricolor to celebrate the launch of the French presidency of the Council of the European Union. But the initiative caused controversy, especially among the ranks of the right.
In addition to the political leaders, it also shocked 33% of the French, according to this survey of the CSA institute (19% of the people questioned saying themselves “rather shocked” and 14% “very shocked”).
Conversely, two out of three respondents were not sensitive to it (42% saying they were “not at all shocked” and 25% “not shocked”).
The measure was presented by Clément Beaune, the Secretary of State for European Affairs, as a “symbolic and temporary initiative”.
The French flag has moreover regained its original place the next day, January 2. The European banner does not fly permanently under the Arc de Triomphe, but only for official ceremonies.
very contrasting opinions, depending on the party
However, this presence struck some of the French. The CSA poll indicates that reactions vary widely depending on political sensitivity. Among the most offended, are the supporters of Reconquest, the party of Eric Zemmour.
In fact, 83% of them said they were shocked by what their candidate considered to be “outrage”. Their opinion is shared by 60% of supporters of the National Rally. The leader of the party, Marine Le Pen, was the first to step up to the plate by denouncing a “provocation” and threatening to challenge this decision before the Council of State.
However, opinions are much more mixed for La France Insoumise (LFI) and Les Républicains (LR). If their respective leaders, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Valérie Pécresse, are both positioned against the government’s gesture (a “macronist caprice” for one, an “erasure of French identity” for the other), their sympathizers, they are indeed more divided. The majority of those who say they are close to the Republicans (56%) are thus “not shocked”, and the same for 47% of supporters of the rebellious.
Unsurprisingly, the most favorable to the government’s initiative are the most Europhile parties, starting with supporters of the Republic in March and the Socialist Party. Also, 90% of people who feel close to Emmanuel Macron’s ideas are “not shocked” by the presence of the European flag. Their opinion is shared by 92% of supporters of the Socialist Party.
Another lesson is that the survey does not reveal any significant variation according to the respondent’s sex. For example, if 32% of men were “shocked” by the presence of the European flag, the share is similar among women with 34% of respondents shocked. Age is also not a significant variable. We can all the same note that the 18-24 year olds are the most mixed on this gesture of the government, 41% of them saying they are “shocked” against 34% of the 65 years and over. France will be president of the Council of the European Union for six months from January 1.
This survey was conducted online from January 4 to 5 on a representative national sample of 1,000 people aged 18 and over, based on the quota method.