Marine Le Pen 'threatening Macron in elections' says expert
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National Rally (NR) leader Ms Le Pen, who lost to Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 election, is gearing up for her third presidential bid next spring. In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the right-wing leader talked at length about her vision for France and the EU if she wins the race to the Elysee Palace. Ms Le Pen, who was once in favour of France leaving the bloc, is now looking to reform it from within.
The NR leader believes the supranational vision of the EU will soon come to an end.
She explained: “Today, and you have seen it, things have changed dramatically.
“Many countries share our ambition to put an end to this supranational and federal vision of the European Union.
“Wisdom and reason tell us to return to a conception of a European cooperation which is not built against states, but which strengthens them through freely chosen and agreed policies of cooperation in targeted and strategic areas, such as research, innovation, artificial intelligence…
“Until now, European construction has been based on the deconstruction of European nations, depriving nations of their sovereignty in order to deprive them of their power.
“The reverse process must be initiated by promoting the defence of the interests of the people.”
She added: “We are no longer the only ones in Europe demanding a profound reform of European institutions.
“In this fight, we have certainly lost the potential support of the British with Brexit, but many states in Europe, especially among the Visegrad countries, want a national vision.
“We have, moreover, just signed a joint declaration with 15 parties in Europe, in particular with the ruling parties in Hungary and Poland, a collective approach which prefigures joint actions to guarantee or restore the sovereignty of States in the functioning of the EU.”
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The parties that signed the declaration also include Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz, Poland’s governing Law and Justice, Austria’s Freedom Party, Spain’s Vox and Italy’s League and Brothers of Italy, led by Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni respectively.
The signatories come from different political families that have often struggled to work together, and some suggested it was a step toward forming a single group.
However, MEPs and officials told POLITICO a single European Parliament faction was not on the cards any time soon.
The parties wrote: “The EU is becoming more and more a tool of radical forces that would like to carry out a cultural, religious transformation and ultimately a nationless construction of Europe, aiming to create… a European Superstate.
“European nations should be based on tradition, respect for the culture and history of European states, respect for Europe’s Judeo-Christian heritage and the common values that unite our nations.
“We reaffirm our belief that family is the basic unit of our nations. In a time when Europe is facing a serious demographic crisis with low birth rates and ageing population, pro-family policy making should be an answer instead of mass immigration.”
They called for the EU to be reformed with “a set of inviolable competencies of the European Union’s member states, and an appropriate mechanism for their protection with the participation of national constitutional courts or equivalent bodies.”
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Ms Le Pen reiterated that France’s interest is not to leave Brussels.
She insisted: “We have followed Brexit with great interest and made our voices heard so that the decision of the British people is respected and the process can be completed.
“However, each country has its internal or external constraints, and it is up to each country to freely determine its national interests. We believe that France’s interest is not to leave the EU, but to change it from within.”
In another interview with Express.co.uk, German MEP Gunnar Beck explained how much of a difference Ms Le Pen could make in Europe if elected French President.
Mr Beck argued the right-wing leader could revolutionise Brussels and put an end to EU integration.
He said: “In terms of EU policy, France is the most important country in Europe.
“Some say it is Germany, but they are wrong. We saw it during the eurozone crisis.
“Generally, the French have prevailed.
“If Le Pen became President, there would be enormous change… particularly on subjects like migration.
“On the euro, there will be a different approach and there will be a recalibration.”
Mr Beck also claimed her election would be a shock for the extreme integrationists and “a huge boost for the eurosceptics”.
He added: “Most importantly, it will put a stop to the process towards an ever closer union.
“It could be the most important event of European history in decades and it will fundamentally upset the Germans.
“Even more than [former US President] Donald Trump’s victory in 2016.”
The first round of the presidential election is due to take place in April 2022.
The second round is held two weeks later between the two candidates who receive the most votes.
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