Marine Le Pen, the frontrunner in the first round of France’s upcoming presidential elections, has declared it is “time do away” with the European Union (EU), which has become a “bureaucratic monster”.
According to EU Observer, the Front National leader told journalists it is time to “build another Europe, whether madame Merkel, monsieur Schulz or the other Commissioners want it or not”.
The 48-year-old said “It is time to do away with an EU that is tempted by a fusion that destroys the Europe of nations”, echoing the sentiments of France’s late post-war leader, General Charles De Gaulle.
The De Gaullist vision of a Europe of sovereign nation-states co-operating on a voluntary basis is in stark contrast to the modern, federalist vision of the EU articulated by establishment politicians such as Martin Schulz, the former President of the European Parliament who hopes to become the next Chancellor of Germany.
“I think there is an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament for a federal Europe,” Schulz has said. “The members of the European Parliament are … European federalists like myself … We need a kind of political union which is a real European federation.”
For the populist Le Pen, however, “The European Union is not the solution, it’s the problem.”
While Le Pen stopped short of openly endorsing Frexit – a French exit from the EU – she indicated she would “start again from scratch” with respect to the EU treaties, and reiterated her call for a national currency to be issued alongside the euro.
France, she told listeners, has been “diminished” by the EU, and “no price [is] too high to pay to assure the freedom of the French people”.
Le Pen has adopted a “France First” platform, with a strong emphasis on combatting Islamism, tackling mass immigration and protecting citizens from the worst excesses of globalisation.
“What is at stake in this election is the continuity of France as a free nation, our existence as a people”, 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.”