Sigmar Gabriel, Angela Merkel’s vice-chancellor and foreign minister, has told the German media that French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen “has set [herself] the aim of destroying Europe”.
The Social Democratic Party (SPD) chairman, a former mass immigration advocate who has now adopted a public position of opposition to his chancellor’s open door policies, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Le Pen now poses “a realistic danger” to the continued survival of the European Union (EU).
The French populist has consistently opposed mass immigration and declared that “financial globalisation and Islamist globalisation” have colluded to “bring France to its knees” in recent years. She has also pledged a UK-style referendum on France’s membership of the EU if the bloc will not disestablish the borderless Schengen zone which was denounced as “an international passport-free zone for terrorists” by former INTERPOL chief Robert Noble. She would also call for the German-dominated euro to be displaced by restored national currencies.
Gabriel claims “the French would be the first to feel the effects of a so-called Frexit” (a French exit from the EU). “The results of such uncertainty about Europe’s future would be of course capital outflow, absent investments and mass unemployment,” he said.
He added that the ideal of European unity would not disappear after such an event, but conceded “without France’s engagement, Europe is certainly unimaginable in the long run”.
Le Pen, on the other hand, believes “what is at stake in this election” is not European unity, but “the continuity of France as a free nation, our existence as a people”.
Within a German-led EU, she believes, “the French have been dispossessed of their patriotism. They are suffering in silence from not being allowed to love their country … The divide is no longer between the Left and the Right, but between the patriots and the globalists.”