Marine Le Pen has congratulated Britain, saying that the nation sent out a “signal of liberty and freedom to the rest of the world”, and that “there will be a glowing future for the United Kingdom”.
At the European Parliament, leader of the Front National and French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen gave enthusiastic felicitations to the UK for the the nation’s vote to leave the European Union (EU).
Berating the “propagandists for the EU on the left and the right” for their “sulky faces and angry looks”, Ms. Le Pen said:
“Look at how beautiful history is when liberty succeeds through the will of the people! This is perhaps the most historic event to occur on the continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“It is a signal of liberty and freedom sent out to the entire world. It’s the cry of love, of a people, for their country. The British have chosen a route which it thought was closed for all time and you [the members of the EU] where some of those who believed it was closed. Those who said it’s all irreversible. That the European Union is irreversible.”
Following, Ms. Le Pen pointed to the EU being “built on the backs of ordinary people” yet denying them their sovereign, democratic rights:
“France and the Netherlands had their vote. The Irish had to vote again after having voted against Lisbon. The Greeks had their referendum. They had to accept more austerity and that was forced down their throats. Perpetual poverty was their fate. The United Kingdom has committed the heresy of breaking the chains of the EU.
“This is a signal victory for democracy. It is a slap in the face to the European system which was increasingly based on fear, blackmail and lies.”
She urged her fellow Europeans to “rejoice in the great, free emancipation of peoples…There will be a glowing future for the UK and that should motivate us to build a better future.”
The French presidential hopeful said of the status of the “expensive, bureaucratic” EU that either nations continue their membership until the “totalitarian” organisation collapses, or nations follow the path of Britain, where Europeans can “look forward to cooperation between free peoples and sovereign nations”:
“From my own country of France I commit to pursuing the path of liberty – to be a free people.
“A free United Kingdom!
“Vive la France!”
Ms. Le Pen’s words echo the earlier sentiment of Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and UKIP party leader Nigel Farage, who said that “Britain is a beacon of hope to democrats across the rest of Europe”, and that other EU nations would be emboldened and inspired to hold their own referendums.
Indeed a ‘Patriot Spring’ is sweeping the continent, with several nationalist, populist movements demanding their own referendums.
Dutch leader of the Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, is seeking a referendum on the Netherlands’ membership of the EU; Ms. Le Pen promises a similar referendum should she be elected President of France in 2017; and the Danish People’s Party are calling for a referendum on Denmark’s membership, using the success of Britain’s referendum as a template.
However, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker’s reaction to the populist hunger for direct democracy was combative, in contrast to his more yielding tone earlier in the parliament when he conceded that a new relationship between the UK and the EU was on the horizon.
Mr. Juncker said, shortly after Ms. Le Pen’s rousing speech: “I do not respect the nationalists. They are not patriots. They are anti-Europeans.”