To many in Europe, Brexit is the road to nowhere. Now, a town in France may be making that a reality.
Julian Sanchez, the 33-year-old mayor of Beaucaire in the south of France, had suggested naming a street in his town in honor of Britain's June vote to leave the European Union.
Sanchez announced Monday that his city council had supported his proposal for a “Rue du Brexit” with a 23-to-9 vote last week. Sanchez, who is a member of the far-right National Front, said the decision had been made as a “homage to the sovereign people's decision.”
Europe : Le conseil municipal de Beaucaire crée la "rue du Brexit" pour rendre hommage au choix du peuple Britannique souverain. pic.twitter.com/X2as1czVQO
— Julien Sanchez (@jsanchez_fn) December 26, 2016
The move sparked celebration from some quarters, with Leave.EU, one group that campaigned for Britain to leave the E.U. ahead of June's referendum, tweeting that it was “a fine choice!”
“We have already received messages of congratulations from Great Britain,” Sanchez told radio station France Bleu. He also noted that there were streets nearby that had been named after the founders of the E.U., so he felt it was “justified to rebalance things.”
But to those who knew the area, the street being renamed made the gesture seem less flattering. As many Twitter users pointed out in response to Sanchez, the road in question is in a bleak, industrial area of town, with little in the way of attractions. (While the road itself isn't on Google Street View, you can tour some of the surrounding areas).
Worse still, it goes in a circle — and leads back only to Rue Robert Schuman, a French statesman regarded as one of the founders of the E.U. Some Twitter users ridiculed the decision.
— Laurent (@_cascales) December 26, 2016
La "rue du Brexit" sera une voie circulaire qui part, et revient, dans la rue R. Schuman. Le FN, troll fédéraliste. https://t.co/n3Rt3tVxpk
— €urobubbler ✒️ (@eurobubbler) December 27, 2016
— Melanie Conroy (@MelanieConroy1) December 28, 2016
Sanchez says that he plans to inaugurate the street in a month, though it can be challenged in the local court within two months.
The National Front has said in the past that it wants to emulate Britain's decision to leave the E.U. Party leader Marine Le Pen is widely expected to pull in a considerable number of votes in next year's presidential election, perhaps making it to a second, runoff round, though she is expected to eventually lose to Republican François Fillon.
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