What a victory for Marine Le Pen would mean for Europe

It will soon be decided who will govern France in the future: the right-wing populist Le Pen or the liberal Macron? A victory for Le Pen could have massive repercussions, especially for Europe.

The specter of a “Frexit” haunts Europe: ahead of the second round of the French presidential election in just over a week, fears are growing in Europe that right-wing populist Marine Le Pen could win the election against outgoing President Emmanuel Macron.

The 53-year-old woman denies wanting to take France out of the European Union. But their plans read like a blueprint for it. The Franco-German partnership would also face a crucial test with Le Pen.

Asselborn: France in “political civil war”

The Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, at 72, by far the oldest head of diplomacy in the EU, does not mince his words. He sees France in a “sort of political civil war”.

Le Pen said the second round was a “referendum against Macron” and his pro-European ideas. Macron’s Europe minister, Clément Beaune, meanwhile called the vote a “referendum on Europe”.

Program contrary to Europe

The two candidates and their programs could not be more contradictory: on the one hand, Macron, often hailed as a European “visionary”, who presented an ambitious program of EU reform shortly after his electoral victory in 2017 – but some of which came to nothing due to a lack of German support; on the other hand, the eldest daughter of the French right-wing extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen, who wants to “put the European Union in its place”. He called the EU an “illegitimate supranational structure” and threatened billions in funding cuts.

Asselborn: Le Pen’s victory would hit the EU hard

Officially, Le Pen is not targeting the “Frexit”. She also dropped her call for France to leave the euro after its sharp defeat by Macron in 2017. According to polls in France, there is no majority for either.

However, Asselborn takes it for granted that President Le Pen would mean a “change in Europe as a project of values ​​and peace” and that the “essence” of the European Union would be hit hard. Brexit and years of rule of law controversies with Poland and Hungary have already put the EU on the wrong side.

Example Poland

Le Pen promises a constitutional referendum in the event of victory against Macron. According to her, “all the European texts which go against our supreme law must no longer be applied in France”. Poland, which is governed by national conservatives, is a model: in October, the Constitutional Court questioned the primacy of European law over national law in a historic judgment.

The federal government is also looking at Paris with concern: Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), referring to the war in Ukraine, said it was important “that we Europeans stand together, especially in these times” .

Le Pen advocates a strategic rapprochement with Russia

Le Pen’s electoral victory would bode ill for the Franco-German “engine” of the EU, which accuses Germany of representing “the absolute negation of French strategic identity”. As soon as the war in Ukraine ended, Le Pen said he wanted to promote a “strategic rapprochement” between Russia and NATO.

After the Russian attack on Ukraine, Le Pen had election pamphlets stamped in which she was seen alongside President Vladimir Putin. But for a long time she courted Putin and, according to the media, received millions in loans from Russian banks.

Le Pen’s prospects have been enthusiastically welcomed by the AfD and Italy’s far-right Lega party, which sits in a parliamentary group with Le Pen’s National Rally (National Collective Movement). AfD MEP Gunnar Beck tweeted after the first round of the election that “the whole of sensible Europe” now supports Le Pen in the second round.

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