- In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Marine Le Pen says Brexit has been a “powerful weapon” for the Front National.
- Le Pen wants to “rebuild” what she sees as damaged relations with the UK.
- She wants to replace the euro with the franc, calling the single currency a “political weapon.”
Far-right French politician Marine Le Pen believes that Brexit and Donald Trump have provided a major boost for her party ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.
The Front National leader’s anti-immigration, anti-Islam, and anti-globalism message seems to have struck a chord with French voters as polls show her leading the first round of the elections.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Le Pen said: “Brexit has been a powerful weapon for us. In the past our adversaries have always been able to say that there is ‘no alternative’ but now we have had Brexit, and then Trump.
“A whole psychological framework is breaking down. I think 2017 is going to be the year of the grand return of the nation-state, the control of borders and currencies.”
Much like US President Donald Trump, whom she openly admires, she plans on putting “France first” and wants to introduce a tax on employers hiring foreign workers — although Brits need not be concerned by her plans: “What we’re concerned about is massive immigration of unskilled workers, mostly from the Maghreb and Africa, which pulls down salaries in France,” she said.
She also aimed to reassure the quarter of a million Brits living and working in France, saying none of her policies were “anti-English,” and that nothing would change for them.
If elected, Le Pen said she would “rebuild our damaged relations with the United Kingdom,” rather than punish the country for leaving the EU. She explained: “What is the point in punishing a country? It is senseless unless you think the EU is a prison, and you are condemned if you escape.”
Other French politicians have not taken so kindly to the Brits’ decision to leave the EU. Earlier this month, French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Brexit negotiations should happen “with the aim of ensuring that the interests of the EU are defended and that a state leaving the EU can not benefit from a better regime than that between member states.”
On Wednesday, a new cross-party report from the French Senate also stressed that the UK should not be allowed to leave the union in a better-off position than it is now.
‘The euro is not a currency. It is a political weapon’
One of Le Pen’s most controversial policies is to leave the Eurozone and bring back the French franc. Although the French central bank warned earlier this week that the measure would cost France €30 billion (£25.5 billion) a year, she claims that leaving the euro is the only way to realise her vision. She said:
“We can do nothing under the current structure in Europe, and the euro is the keystone. Not a single one of our measures will ever see the light of day.
“The euro is not a currency. It is a political weapon to force countries to implement the policies decided by the EU and keep them on a leash. Look at what happened to the Greeks when they said no to austerity, as they were right to do: Liquidity for the banks was cut off.”
Le Pen also doubles down on Germany, saying the country is using the euro to “engage in permanent monetary dumping,” and it is leading the euro-system to suit its needs.
With her policy, she hopes that southern European states, which have been at odds with some European austerity measures for a while, will join her protest against Germany and “dismantle this structure together in an orderly way before it collapses in chaos.”
Although she is not outright calling for France to leave the European Union, there is little doubt that the collapse of the union and a return to national borders is Le Pen’s end game.
She said if the EU refuses to comply with her anti-European requests, she would call a referendum for France to leave the union. Although a majority of French people voting to leave the union is highly unlikely, a “Frexit” would probably mean the end of the EU.
While Le Pen still trails candidates Emmanuel Macron and François Fillon in the second round of the elections, the gap between them is steadily decreasing and a Front National win is not as far-fetched as it once was.
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