Britain should not be punished for leaving the European Union (EU) and France should consider leaving the euro itself, Front National leader Marine Le Pen has said.
Ms. Len Pen, who is currently ahead in polling for the first round of the French presidential election, said she would reverse President François Hollande’s policy of “punishing” Britain for leaving if she is elected.
She also predicted the collapse of the euro currency, denouncing it as “tool” for Germany to prop up its own economy while making everyone else suffer.
Speaking in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ms. Le Pen said: “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. I want to rebuild our damaged relations with the United Kingdom.”
“A people decides its own destiny. You cannot force a country to do something that is against its own interests, or against the democratic process,” she added.
She also warned that she was prepared to see the whole euro project collapse if necessary.
“France is the political heart of Europe, and the moment we leave the euro the whole project collapses,” Ms. Le Pen said.
“The euro is a potent tool used by Germany to engage in permanent monetary dumping. It suits the Germans just fine but we unfortunate travelling companions cannot be subjected to this misery forever to promote their happiness,” she added.
The euro, she said, is not a currency but 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.”
A poll by Ifod Fiducial earlier this week showed Ms. Le Pen winning 25.5 per cent of the vote in first round, ahead of pro-EU liberal Emmanuel Macron on 19.5 per cent and former favourite François Fillon on just 18.5 per cent.
Ms. Le Pen is relishing the opportunity to take on Mr. Macron, a man who is almost her polar opposite, in a presidential run-off, saying: “The choice in modern politics is no longer between Left and Right. It lies elsewhere and with Macron things are now clear. It is a battle between patriots and unbridled globalism.”
“But whether I face the ‘monied Left’ or the ‘monied Right’ makes little difference. What we are defending is our cultural inheritance: our history, our secularism, our rural way of life. It is to defend ‘une certaine idée de la France’,” Ms. Le Pen said.