PARIS, France — Anti-mass migration candidate Marine Le Pen blasted globalist Emmanuel Macron on issues of terrorism and the role of globalism on the struggling French economy in the final French presidential debate.
The final debate between French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron was a tense affair with constant back and forth between the two candidates on a range of issues. Le Pen slammed Macron for his position on terrorism, claiming that he had no policy and his support for globalisation which she blamed for French unemployment.
At the start of the debate, the two candidates spoke on economic issues from the age of retirement to the effect of globalisation on French workers. Le Pen, who is an opponent of globalisation, said that Macron, who was previously an investment banker, was only interested in buying and selling, which was often “not in the national interest.”
Macron attempted to talk about the incident at the Whirlpool factory last week in which he was greeted with boos by the workers hours after LePen had made a surprise visit. Macron accused Le Pen of using the workers for a photo op, while Le Pen blasted Macron’s support for globalisation saying that was the reason for the factory’s closure and relocation to Poland.
Macron argued that Le Pen’s protectionist economic policies would lead to high costs for products like pharmaceuticals, though Le Pen fired back saying that France could make their own drugs.
The moderators then brought up the subject of radical Islamic terrorism and Le Pen accused Macron of not having any plan for tackling the problem. Le Pen also pointed out that Macron has received endorsements from Islamist organisations like the UOIF with ultra-conservative Islamic ideology that includes killing homosexuals and systematically repressing women.
“11,000 terrorists on the watch list is the record of your government. It is shameful!” Le Pen said continuing to accuse Macron of being the heir to President Francois Hollande and asking why he had not been able to solve the various problems while he was in government.
On the subject of the European Union, Le Pen said that the political union has become an authoritarian regime that imposes economic measures without nation states consent. Le Pen has vowed to hold a referendum on EU membership to “wrench Europe from the hands of the EU that is killing it,” if she wins the presidency on Sunday.
“Anyway, France will be led by a woman: it’s me or Mrs Merkel,” Le Pen said.
Regarding the euro currency, Le Pen once again affirmed her stance on restoring the French Franc. She advocated for a mixed system in which ordinary Frenchmen would be able to get the Franc back in their pocket, while large companies would be free to pay their global bills in any currency their liked, which could include the Euro if that’s what suited them. Macron responded saying, “my Europe is the opposite of Le Pens’. Companies would not be able to pay internationally in Euros and their employees in Francs.”
On social media, many were talking about a statement from Le Pen during a heated exchange in which she said, “I see you want to play to the student and the teacher with me, this is not my thing.” Many interpreted the remark as a not so subtle jab at Macron’s wife Brigitte, who was his former teacher and formed a relationship with Macron when he was under 18-years-old.
"Jouer à l'élève et au professeur ce n'est pas trop mon truc"
Marine casse Macron & mamie Brigitte d'un coup.#Debat2017
— David van Hemelryck📒 (@David_vanH) May 3, 2017
On France’s relationship with the United States, Macron said that he would like to see the same relationship continues since World War Two but said he would stand up to Russia in Ukraine and said that France does not share the values of the Russian government.
Le Pen said earlier this week that she would be a better leader to negotiate with U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin because she shared similar views against globalisation. She said: “I think we need to be equidistant between USA and Russia… we don’t need to wage Cold War on Russia… they haven’t shown any hostility towards us”.
“I am the best placed to speak to the Russia of Putin, the America of Trump, the Britain of Theresa May”.
In his final two moments, Macron accuses Le Pen of having no real vision for France, but rather is a member of the “extreme right” and is campaigning on smearing others. Calling Le Pen a “parasite” living off hate, Macron said anger “nourishes the Front National.”
In her final statement Le Pen said, “People may say I’m old fashioned but I like France as it is, with its culture, language, history… not a country thrown into a fratricidal war that will allow some to obtain maximum profits for themselves.”
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at firstname.lastname@example.org