French populist and Front National leader Marine Le Pen spoke out against claims the European Union has eyed France and Britain’s nuclear arsenals with a view to take them over for the common use of EU nations.
While the plans have been considered by fringe Europhile diehards for decades as a means to force European military unity, the idea of taking over the nuclear weapons already possessed by EU member states for the common good have never been taken seriously. However, a flurry of articles in recent weeks discussing the plans and a resurgence of interest has caused concern — prompting presidential candidate Marine Le Pen to speak out against the idea.
According to the claims, these fringe European defence theorists are speaking up for the plans in the wake of the election of President Donald J. Trump, as European leaders look for defence alternatives should they fail to maintain their NATO commitments, and therefore jeopardise their relationship with the U.S.
While Britain’s withdrawal from the EU would preclude the independent nuclear deterrent being co-opted by Brussels, the approximately 300 French warheads will for now remain within the political reach of the Union.
Speaking at a campaign event on Saturday, Le Pen slammed the present diminished state of French defence, and called any attempts by the EU to seize elements of member state’s defence apparatus “totalitarian”. She said:
France, throughout her history, has rarely been so disarmed. Of course, we still have – but for how long? – our nuclear deterrent.
I hear voices who talk in favour of a gloomy project which would lead to sharing our nuclear deterrent on a European scale. This would be madness and a crime against France, her safety, her power and her independence.
For decades now, we have denounced the totalitarian drift of the European Union. It is therefore out of the question to enable this supranational techno structure to gain access to any kind of military capacity!
This would mean an intolerable threat to the fundamental freedom of the people of Europe.
Marine Le Pen has hit out repeatedly at the EU in recent weeks, most recently saying she would work with Britain, Poland, and Hungary to “dismantle” the continental power bloc. The FN leader said in the future “each country is free and sovereign to defend their own interests”.