Marine Le Pen, the populist frontrunner in the first round of France’s upcoming presidential elections, struck a combative pose in a March 20th candidates’ debate, vowing to control immigration, tame the European Union (EU), and put France first.
“The EU is locking us up,” she declared, making it clear she plans on being a national leader, not the governor of a European region in hock to the German chancellor.
“I want to be the president of the French republic, not the vice chancellor of Mrs Merkel,” she asserted.
“You, the French citizens, have the right to make up your own minds, to protect yourselves … from the sources of insecurity that come from opening up our borders.”
While stopping short of formally endorsing a French exit from the EU, Ms. Le Pen promised to “organise negotiations with Europe so that we can restore the liberties that you deserve. I will organise a referendum and there will be a national debate.”
Those negotiations would hinge principally on the bloc’s free movement regime and the borderless Schengen Area, which Ms. Le Pen sees as undermining French security.
“How can we know who’s coming or going? If they’re buying weapons in Belgium?” she asked, echoing former Interpol chief Robert Noble’s assessment of the EU migration regime as “an international passport-free zone for terrorists to execute attacks on the Continent and make their escape”.
“Radical Islamism should not be allowed in our country,” the Front National leader reiterated. “We need to protect our nation once again.”
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