In an interview given to the Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front (FN), has said that she plans to hold a referendum on France’s EU membership is she wins the presidency next year.
I told the French that if they elect me, I will immediately go to Brussels to start negotiations on the return of our sovereignty. Six months after my election, I will organize the referendum.
Le Pen has not excluded the possibility of staying in the EU, if her talks with Brussels are successful. Emboldened by Brexit, Le Pen has capitalized on the present discontent with the French political establishment.
Back in September, Le Pen has said,
This referendum on France belonging to the European Union, I will do it. Yes it is possible to change things. Look at the Brits, they chose their destiny, they chose independence … We can again be a free, proud and independent people.
France is experiencing significant problems with domestic terrorism, immigration and slow economic recovery, but the country remains a pillar of the European Union.
Although most political analysts – as well as most of the mainstream media – say Le Pen is unlikely to win the presidential election next year, the possibility of her triumph remains a major scare for Brussels.
Le Pen, whose party has won in the elections for the European Parliament in 2014, considers that the EU has stripped France of its autonomy and sovereignty. She advocates tougher stance on illegal immigration and border controls.
While FN has been characterized as ‘Far right’ its economic program propagates protectionism and interventionism. Unlike Francois Fillon, her probable opponent in the second round of next year’s presidential election, Le Pen is against Neo-liberalism and in favor of maintaining France’s robust social security system.
2016 has been a tough year for the EU, but 2017 will bring even greater challenges. Le Pen’s victory would shake the already weakened foundations of the EU.