22:45 GMT05 March 2021
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    French President Francois Hollande has refused to hold a referendum on the EU in France, but Nicolas Sarkozy has urged a referendum on a new EU Treaty, French newspaper Le Monde reported.

    French President Francois Hollande is working round-the-clock to stop Brexit fever from spreading to other EU countries, and has told right-wing leader Marine Le Pen that he will not allow a referendum on the EU like that held in the UK, French newspaper Le Monde reported.

    After he began Saturday by meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Hollande then met the leaders of all the main French political parties, including Nicolas Sarkozy from Les Republicans, and Marine Le Pen from Front National.

    "The people of Great Britain have ruled, there is no time to procrastinate. It is no longer for Britain to set the agenda for Europe," said Jean-Christophe Cambadelis after meeting Hollande. Cambadelis is First Secretary of Hollande's Socialist Party.

    "There is a divorce, we regret that, but we must respect the will of the people."

    Les Republicans leader and former French President Sarkozy said that the EU needs urgent reforms in the aftermath of Brexit, and wants France to take a leading role. 

    "I told President Hollande I think it is vital that France takes a strong initiative to lay the foundations for a new intergovernmental treaty."

    "Europe today is facing a crisis of great magnitude. This is not a question of our relationship with the English, but the question of the nature of the Europe of 27," Sarkozy said.

    Le Monde reported Sarkozy also told a television program that a new EU treaty could be put to the popular vote in other EU countries.

    "I believe that we should not be afraid of the people: if they do not believe in the European idea and it does not stand the test of a referendum, then it is not the right path," Sarkozy said.

    Front National Leader Marine Le Pen said that she had again asked President Hollande to hold a similar referendum on France's future in the EU.

    When arriving at the Elysee Palace, Le Pen said that she wanted to see whether the government "will take into account any of the signals which have been sent for many years," by the people of Europe and France.

    Afterwards, she said she was disappointed.

    "We have called for the implementation of a referendum to ask the French if they want to remain in the European Union. He said no," she told journalists.

    "It's almost as though we said a dirty word, the people have really become the last wheel of the cart," Le Pen said. 


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