>> welcome back. you are watching "live from paris" on "france 24." i'm laura cellier. our top stories. britain decides. will it be in or out of the european union? we would get updates from across -- we will get updates from across europe. in paris.kes place tens of thousands taking part in the latest protest of the government's labour reform.
now, it is finally here. british voters taking part today in an historic referendum on the nation's future. more than 46 million people have registered to vote. today, those that did answer a simple question -- should the united kingdom remain in the european union or should it leave? this is the -- only the third time the u.k. has held such a vote. let's go to london now. "france 24's" luke brown is there. you have been talking to people in the capital today. people say they are pretty confused when it comes down to it. when you speak to people, what do you tell you -- what do they tell you resonates with them? luke: it really depends on where
you are in the country. outside of london, at one of the places we have visited over the past couple of days, issues there are immigration and sovereignty -- how much control people have over their lives in the united kingdom compared to -- they accuse the european union of having too much to do with their lives. those issues are slightly less key in london. the issues for people we have been speaking to hear our the economy -- here are the economy. that's one of the real differences in this campaign. chord that has been struck by the exit campaign has been emotional. it has struck a chord with many britons in this referendum. as such, that's why their campaign has done so much better
than has been expected. the remain campaign has not struck an emotional chord. it has been economically beneficial for the united kingdom to stay in the european union. the problem perhaps is that they have not managed to get that message across. maybe that message has not found in office -- audience in some of the more working class areas, the more impoverished areas of the country. 40 years since we've had a referendum of this kind. a lot has changed. is notted kingdom necessarily a divided nation, but it is a divisive question that has left united kingdom pondering its future in the decades to come. d a lot of --
laura: a lot of people have chosen to come out to vote today . turnout in the general election last time was 66%. it's expected to be a lot higher today. it to beare expecting considerably higher. there are 2 million people who have registered to vote over the past six months or so. that has likely increased the turnout. big ben has just struck 8:00 p.m. here in london. there are just two hours left people to cast their ballots around the country. we don't know which side the high turnout is likely to favor. we do know that, more emotionally involved voter on the brexit side -- we've seen some terrible weather here in london and across the southeast of the country. that's likely to have reduced the turnout in those areas. it's too early to get an idea of the turnout itself. we are expecting it to be higher
than last year. we are likely to find out a better picture once the polls close. we will have to wait until some way through the night to get a really clear picture of both the turnout and which side the people who have turned out to vote have cast their ballots. laura: around 2:00 a.m. local time, i believe. thank you very much, luke brown, reporting for us from london. back in studio in paris, i'm joined by a professor of european politics at the university of bath. i'm also joined by robert parsons. we are going to discuss some of the themes on the british networks. the campaigning has ended. we are still talking about it here on "france 24." i want to talk about the campaign first. onths of afour m really bitter, nasty, divisive campaign, both sides saying the other is lying.
it culminated in the death of the pro-e.u. mp joe cox just last week -- jo cox just last week. >> it has been extremely nasty, extremely by two british -- e xtremely vituperative. it's only since the murder that people have come back to reality and back to dealing with the issues. up until then, much of the debate, if you want to even call it that, has been mudslinging, accusations,, one side calling the other the champions of project fear, the other accusing brexit supporters of being the campaigners for project hate. but it's being thrown around thetsyou would not -- epi being thrown around that you would not expect during a debate of this importance. we heard one of the leaders of the leads -- leave campaign and
a tory minister, justice minister, part of the same team as david cameron, his leader, who is on the other side of the fence now, saying that the use of experts by the romain -- remain campaign reminded him of the use of experts by the nazis before and during the second world war. laura: david cameron saying he had lost it. it's really emotional, isn't it? this debate really goes to the heart of british identity. it's a nation deciding on its future and what kind of country it wants to be. >> i have come to the conclusion -- and i was back in the u.k. briefly last week to see my family. it is a thing that defines -- defines family -- divides families. those in favor of brexit are driven by a certain type of irrationality. to be in the remain camp, you
have to be cerebral. you have to think about the issues to come to the conclusion this is the right answer. are notts of dynamics in connection with each other at all. there's a huge, emotional thing, i think. >> i completely agree. the thing about the european union, it's not some overarching idea. it's not something that engages your emotions. --s all about population calculation of your economic self-interest. to get people engage in that is difficult. -- engaged in that is difficult. >> the argument by the leave campaign -- it's not about passion. we have heard the leave campaigners saying this should be about passion. this is about being british, all these sorts of things. really, it should not be about that. it should be about cold examination of the benefits and the problems of being in or out. >> the sort of arguments you get
on the leave side are really all about these caricatural things. caricatural.etely it's nothing to do -- the problems of the people of britain who are complaining now the brexit to ride camp on the wave of anti-european is an is that their problems -- anti-european is that their problems were not caused by the eu. it's got nothing to do with europe. when you read these things in the paper, this isn't the briton i used to now, of course it's not. laura: what about the argument that, in 1975, this was not the europe that people voted for. people did not vote for britain of a large,rt integrated, federal project with leaders in brussels who are not democratically elected by people in britain and who are making
decisions about those people's lives. that's emotional. that's something to get passionate about, isn't it? >> it's true. nothing is static in life. things change. when you enter something like the european union, it's going to change over time. britain itself has changed over the last two decades. not necessarily partially, not wholly by the decisions of the european union. many of the things that have changed in britain have changed because the policies of succession of britain -- british governance. >> the issue you raised about whether the british people were sold something they did not know what it was they were buying, both when we entered in 1973 and in the referendum -- it was resolved more or less. the british prime minister has made it clear at the time this was much more than a market. this was not just a market. this controversy over what this thing is has run and run and run
. it's never satisfactorily been resolved in the u.k., largely because you've had a leader who is prepared to make the case to the british people, what is this about, why are we in it. laura: just the point then. -- just another point then. an argument that the brexit camp are making is, why would britain want to be tied to the european union? when you look at the big issues, the migrant crisis, the eurozone crisis, what an absolute failure that has been -- why tie a country to something like that, to a project that some people might -- say might fall apart in the next 10 to 20 years? >> there are other terrible reasons. that's why this so difficult to make the case. the problems in the european union are real. on the remain campaign, we are hearing the argument over and over, yes, we understand the
european union is not perfect. to take the refugee crisis, it's not entirely over the european union's making. laura: but the way it's been handled. >> would we have dealt with the problem better? we are -- outside of the european union? probably not. are we better in the european union in a globalized world? when we have to compete for resources and for markets with china, the united states, and other big, enormous, bulky bodies, probably we are better in the european union, but trying to make that case to the man in the street is not easy when the man in the street is responding to a much more emotive argument. the britain that we knew has been lost. we have to re-find ourselves. we have to reclaim our sovereignty. all those claims sound very appealing. when you reduce them to their core, they don't represent very much.
that, byher point is leaving, the problems are not going to go away. the migrant problem is not going to go away. the problem of the euro -- the eurozone is not going to go away. britain cannot attach itself from these. it is structurally connected. it's a complete myth to think you can close the door and switch off. we cannot. globalization is simply the big framework in which the european union is a major after, along with china, the united states. the world is being structured by an ever smaller number of ever larger units. the nationstate is no longer a player. laura: although stocks -- hold those thoughts just a moment. we are going to have a look at the view from brussels. with the eu possibly about to lose one of its most valued members, we have this report. reporter: as britain's head to the polls -- as britons head to
the polls, it's business as usual here at the european parliament in brussels. although brexit is not on the official agenda this week, it's what everyone is talking about and it is making some members of the european parliament extremely worried. >> i'm worried. i think this has been one of the most dishonest campaigns where repeated lies have been peddled. we had 40 years of anti-eu propaganda. it's hard to reverse that in a couple of months. >> if you decide you no longer want to be part of that, then you really hold back completely. and it's not just trade. it's political engagement, citizen engagement. there are so many layers to our relationship as members of the european union. i hope that it does not happen. >> this is a one-off. there is no possibility of correcting it in our lifetime. so, the consequences will be
paid by our children and grandchildren. >> leaving the eu would occupy us for months and with -- and shock,with crisis, together with all the other issues, like the financial crisis, the migration. >> in any case, no matter the result, we are ready. >> we think that there are huge risks involved in case of brexit, in case that you would then try to react -- retaliate and -- in case the eu would then try to retaliate against the naughty pupil. just doubles not here in the european parliament, but also in the other eu institutions, like the european council and the european commission, where speeches are being drafted to react accordingly to either outcome.
i'm joint in the studio by jolyon from yale university. we've been talking about some of the big themes being invoked in this referendum. one of them is what the eu has to lose if britain leaves tomorrow. >> the eu has to lose one of its biggest members, one of its biggest payers, one of its most influential members on the world stage, even though britain, as a player, is no longer what it was in 1945. this is a lot to lose. this is a major defense participant. all overplomatic -- the world. it's like losing france or germany, actually. laura: what about security? the argument of the brexit is always that it is nato -- the
north american treaty alliance -- organization -- that has kept europe safe and conflict free. others say, no, it's because european countries are close. they have trade deals. they need to do business with each other. >> as far as security is concerned, we talk about military security, then it is nato. nobody is arguing with that. nobody in any of the european urine member -- european union member states are arguing that nato should be phased out. the argument that the ers are using is that the europeans want to get rid of nato and build a european army. it's absolutely not true. tomorrow, we will get this report from high representative federica mogherini. are predicting it will call for a year. army. it's clear that nato remains -- european army.
it's clear that nato remains. the americans no longer want to pay for it. what donald trump has been saying about that represents a very wide swath of opinion in the united states. it's a message which has not gone across yet in europe. i don't think there's a problem there other than that, ridge and to leave at this point didn't -- britain to leave at this point in time, is a very serious problem, because it's going to make europe much less secure. laura: thank you very much for joining us. now, moving on to some of the other top stories we are covering for you here on "france 24." in paris, tens of thousands of people marched in a heavily police to protest this thursday -- heavily policed protest this thursday. last week's march to send it into right -- march descended into rioting.
>> thousands protesting peacefully against unpopular labour reforms. it nearly did not go ahead and all. >> we cannot protest without marching. it's a compromise. >> we cannot ease off. the government is not getting in either, trying to prevent us from taking to the streets, so it's more necessary than ever for us to be here. >> with previous protests devolving into often bitter violence, authorities had van the thursdaybanned march before relenting. they restricted it to a circular route and sent in more than 2000 police officers. for unions, it was a slap in the face. >> it's time that some, whether the government or the presidency, look at what's going on, hear what's going on. we can't remain in this situation. each time the doors open, they are immediately closed. reporter: the reforms currently
before the french senate are meant to free up the labor market and reduce unemployment. however, some 2/3 of french people oppose them. compromise has all ready watered them down, leaving both sides unsatisfied. the government is not giving in. >> we will go right to the end. because it is essential to be able not just to allow businesses to hire when they need to, but to be able to train those who are unemployed. that's the advantage with short-term contracts. protestersaris' weren't alone. protesters turned out in marseille, where their march went off peacefully as well. laura: the u.s. supreme court has blocked president obama's bid to shield millions of migrants from deportation. judges were tied 4-4 over plans to change immigration policy.
uling called the r heartbreaking. pres. obama: immigration reform will get done. congress is not going to be able to ignore america forever. it's just --it's not a matter of if. it's a matter of when. and i can say that with confidence because we've seen our history. we get these spasms of politics around immigration and fear ourering, and then traditions and our history and our better impulses kick in. laura: let's get some more business news. markus karlsson is with me in the studio. you've been keeping a close eye on the markets. they could provide some clues as to which way britain's eu referendum might go. markus: it's all about brexit in
the markets. much of the focus when it comes to the brexit debate is on the british pound or sterling. it's been trading higher against the u.s. dollar. $1.48 thisuys you hour. we've seen the pound reach the year i against -- reach a year high against the greenback. gains or theed end of the trading day, but they still ended in positive -- toward the end of the trading day, but they still ended positive. u.s. markets -- the latest figures from wall street. nasdaq up 1.25%. the dow jones up by about 8%. financial shares are gaining ground.
opinion polls have suggested that the remain camp will win. laura: does that mean investors are betting on a win? markus: when we have seen opinion polls point in the direction of a remain victory, we have seen stocks, shares, and the sterling heading higher, and vice versa. voting is still underway. we have an hour and 35 minutes to go before polling booths close. if there is a leave vote, there are warnings we could see sharp falls tomorrow morning and it comes to europeans talks and the pound -- tomorrow morning when it comes to european stocks and the pound. >> if we did see about to leave, in the early hours of tomorrow morning, that would constitute a shock to the market. we would see sterling very difficult. various authorities have been working hard post-lehman in
order to build up the resilience of the world's financial system. laura: an hour and a half, as you say, until polling closes, but it's going to be an all nighter for the traders. markus: absolutely. banks, investment funds have been pulling in extra people to work throughout the night. they will be watching this vote and the counting very closely. financial companies have called in extra staff. polling stations will close at 10:00 p.m. local time in the u.k. or 11:00 here in france. some financial companies have ordered their own polls. we could see them taking their own opinion polls so we could see them taking action before the end of voting. laura: french companies also watching closely to see what happens. markus: absolutely. one of the questions is what kind of trading relationship britain and the rest of the european union would have if there is a brexit vote. french companies are among those
firms with question marks. we're going to take a closer look at that now. reporter: this small workshop produces around 50 trucks per year, a product that is entirely made in france and for which the main foreign buyer is the united kingdom. represents about 10% of our total revenue. reporter: here, everything is built according to european norms. but the looming threat of a brexit has this business owner worried. >> the person thing we are afraid of this customs tax, of course. secondly, we will have to adapt to new rules and regulations. that will require technological innovation, which translates to higher costs. thirdly, and i will let economists be the judge of that, but the exchange rate is likely to become less stable for us. reporter: loss of competitiveness that threatens to damage a 30-year-old business. talks to british
clients on a daily basis. he fears that countries with close ties to the u.k. could align themselves on british norms in case of a brexit. atthe consequences which, first, only seemed to impact the u.k. could affect a range of other companies that are close to the u.k., and that's a whole new problem. i'm talking about the middle east, canada, south africa. all very close to britain. reporter: the company is already bracing for the worst case scenario. employees hope they will continue to sell their products on the other side of the channel. markus: the british referendum may be the only show in town, or one of the main shows in town, but there are some other stories we want to tell you about. there are reports that volkswagen has agreed to pay $10 billion to settle a civil case in the united states. the money is meant to compensate nearly 500,000 car owners for
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