Marine Le Pen
Marion Anne Perrine “Marine” Le Pen’s political platform focuses primarily on France’s sovereignty. She represents herself as anti-system and anti-élite: “the candidate of truth, of honesty, of loyalty.”
Her foreign-policy platform rests on a promise to rectify France’s “loss of influence and power” on the international scene: “France as a sovereign power, France as a balancing power, France as a world power”, and on the contention that these three concepts are no longer respected.
In October 2016, when asked about her vision of international affairs and France’s role on the international order, she answered: “I am not the policeman of the world, I am not president of the world. What I want is to be President of the French Republic. What really and perhaps even exclusively matters to me is the safety of France and of the French people; that is the mission of the President.”
Le Pen considers her political platform to be in line with “a great movement across the world, a movement that rejects uncontrolled globalization, destructive ultra-liberalism, the elimination of nation states and the suppression of borders.” She has stated that, if she was elected, a trilateral alliance with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin “would be good for world peace.”
Marine Le Pen, a serving MEP for nearly thirteen years, is not opposed in principle to a European organization, but she criticises and rejects what the European Union has become. Indeed, she believes that in its current form the EU is “totalitarian” and a “prison of peoples”. She wishes to renegotiate its boundaries, its range of actions, its purpose, and proposes a new “Europe of Nations” which would include Russia and Switzerland.
She says that, once elected, she will enter into negotiations for six months with Brussels so as to give France its sovereignty back in a number of areas: “control over immigration”, “a stop to family reunification rights”, “a ban on GMOs”, and “an end to the liberalisation of public services.”
Le Pen states: “Today France is not free. Therefore, if I am elected President of the Republic, I am going to ask the EU to return our sovereignty. There are at least four pillars to our sovereignty. Essential pillars. Our territorial sovereignty: I want to know who comes into my territory and who stays there, because I believe that this is the right of the French people. Monetary sovereignty, and the troubles of the Euro are part of this. Economic sovereignty, and this includes the sovereignty of our banks. And our legislative sovereignty. I want the laws voted in by the French people to take precedence over European directives. That is what I am going to negotiate. Exactly like Great Britain: either the European Union says ‘OK’ and we’ll stay in the EU, or the European Union says ‘out of question’, and I will immediately propose to the French people that we leave the EU by referendum.”
She has stated that she believes these negotiations could result in the creation of the new Europe she is calling for: a “Europe of Nations and Freedom”, a name taken from the political group launched in the European Parliament in 2015 by Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Matteo Salvini and former UKIP parliamentarians.
Le Pen’s rejection of ‘technocratic’ supranational institutions, overseas interventions and foreign interference also extends to her views on France’s membership of NATO: “NATO, NATO, NATO, NATO… it’s pathetic. At no point has anybody considered a strategy designed with the European Union in mind.” She also wants France to leave NATO’s integrated command structure, claiming that “NATO is no longer of any use since the Soviet Union has fallen. The problem is that our presence in NATO makes us subject to the international agenda of the United States.”
Russia is an integral part of Marine Le Pen’s vision of a new “Europe of Nations and Freedom.” She has spoken of an “extensive strategic alliance” between France and Russia following France’s withdrawal from NATO’s integrated command structure, with Paris, Berlin and Moscow forming a new trilateral alliance.
The part-funding of Marine Le Pen’s election campaign by a Russian bank has ignited a debate in France (no French financial institutions were prepared to provide her campaign with a loan). She appears to have made no attempt to hide the source of her funding and has stated that it has had no influence on her views about Russia. There have been claims that the loans come indirectly from the Russian government, which would create a form of dependence on President Putin; she has denied these claims.
On the topic of Putin, Le Pen has stated: “I am a great admirer of Vladimir Putin because he has succeeded in reining in the Russian oligarchs who have conscientiously stolen Russian wealth over the course of ten long years.”
Marine Le Pen is the only official French presidential candidate to have recognized the result of the 2014 Crimean status referendum, whose validity was disputed by the European Union and was declared invalid in a resolution passed by the UN’s General Assembly. Le Pen, by contrast, stated that “there [could] be no possible contestation of the referendum result.”
Marine Le Pen supports the Russian military intervention in Syria and has called for an alliance between France, Russia and Bashar El-Assad against Daesh. “Diplomacy should be all the easier with Russia and Bashar El-Assad as we have a common enemy: Daesh and Islamic fundamentalism.” She has justified this position by stating that “we must choose the least worst option for our [French] national interests.”
Marine Le Pen has refused to acknowledge that Syrian migrants in Europe are fleeing persecution by Bashar el-Assad, characterising them as “Islamic fundamentalists.” This is in line with her general contention that only a minority of migrants on French territory are indeed asylum seekers.
She is opposed to France accepting refugees, stating that “we cannot welcome any more people.” She acknowledges “the humanitarian dimension, sure, but in their country of origin. This is the job of the international organisations, funded by member states: to build humanitarian camps to look after them over there, but not in France because we no longer have the means.”
Marine Le Pen has stated on many occasions that she believes that most of the foreigners coming to France are “economic migrants … these are people who are looking for a better life for themselves than they can find in their own countries: but this does not give them the right to asylum, their situation is illegal and the only solution is to send them back home”.
She has proposed to end free education of illegal immigrants: “I’ve got nothing against foreigners but I say to them: if you come to our country, don’t expect to be looked after, to be cared for, or to get free education for your children.”
“Immigration is a global phenomenon, and above all it’s an economic phenomenon. Many countries use immigration to push down salaries because they want the cheapest possible labour costs … they use these people by making them work for low wages, and obviously they compete against local workers. … Secondly, immigration into countries where there is unemployment means bringing in people who, by definition, won’t find work. So if you bring in people without offering them anything, these people will obviously become a burden on the state. It is economically illiterate behaviour. Thirdly, I think it’s very unfair because you’ve told them they’re coming to the Promised Land, yet they usually end up stuck in the community, unemployed and in all kinds of difficulties.”
Le Pen declares some sympathy with the abstract notion of multiculturalism, but is against its concrete manifestations : she says, “Yes to global multiculturalism, no to multiculturalism in a single country.”
“I want an untroubled France, and for France to be untroubled we need to solve its economic problems, we need to give the French people back their freedom, we need to restore democracy, fight mass immigration, fight communitarianism and Islamist terrorism.”
“In order to combat international terrorism we must accept the fact that it is not, as people have tended to assume, the external manifestation of oppression and poverty within states : it is the unfortunate consequence of the policies of certain states.
To fight international terrorism, Marine Le Pen proposes “to re-establish borders”: she says that “Schengen is a security catastrophe.” Her immigration policy proposal relies partly on the fact that she believes mass immigration is fertile ground for Islamisation.
Le Pen has stated that “Islamic fundamentalism is a totalitarian ideology which aims to replace our laws by religious laws.” She has described Islamic fundamentalism as “the new totalitarianism of the 21st century.”
In order to counter terrorism and Islamic extremism, she proposes that the French people make sacrifices: she has vowed “to ban all visible religious symbols in public.” She has stated that the practice of Muslim prayer in public spaces is “… an occupation of swathes of our territory, of neighbourhoods in which religious law applies: it is an occupation. Sure, there are no tanks, there are no soldiers, but it is an occupation all the same, and local people feel oppressed by it.”
Middle East and Arabic World
Le Pen wants to reinforce France’s policies with respect to the Middle East and the Arab world. She has noted that the wars in Iraq and the Arab revolutions have “progressively diminished our influence in the Arab world”.
She has stated that “our red line is that France will not discuss or negotiate with any government practising terrorism or supporting groups that practise terrorism, whether their target is Europe, the United States, Israel, Russia…”
In North Africa, Marine Le Pen wants to renegotiate every economic partnership formed with Maghreb countries on the basis of managing migratory flows.
Although Le Pen supports a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine, she insists that “Israel has the right to its sovereignty and to enforce its security.” However, her ability to pursue a constructive relationship with Israel is limited since she has been barred from official visits to Israel: the Israeli government’s official policy is to boycott the National Front.
Le Pen has stated that dual citizenship with non-European countries would be banned under her proposed immigration program (with the sole exception of Russia) and that French Jews with Israeli citizenship would be forced to renounce it.
“Language and power go together. Our fight for the French language, on every continent, will contribute to re-establishing our influence.” “Nowadays, only the children of rich foreigners can attend French courses in cultural centres and Alliances Françaises. This needs to change. We shall conduct a decent policy of Francophonie promotion with a renewed commitment to bilateralism.”
Marine Le Pen wants “a vigorous policy towards Asia”, reinforcing the French presence in “India, Indonesia, Malaysia… the training of diplomats specialised in Asian affairs and the reinforcement of our [cultural] projection in these countries will be among our foreign affairs priorities.”
“The only reasonable way forward for the European and African continents lies in a close relationship, because the development of the African continent will break the migratory noose that threatens us, and will allow both continents to live their own identities in peace, sincerity and prosperity.”
Le Pen envisages a “grand development policy for the African Continent, because “today, Africa has been abandoned to the emerging powers: China, India, Brazil; even Russia is returning”. Such a policy would “really respect African national sovereignties” and would be based on “strong French state support to private French investments in Africa in exchange for the reversal of migratory flows.”