Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, does not look upon France's relationship with the European Union (EU) charitably.
The 48-year-old's policies can be best described as isolationist, protectionist and nativist. She has proposed a 3 percent import tax, promised to suspend France's border-free zone, wants to slash legal immigration to zero, and has previously spoken in favour of abandoning the EU altogether, although she has recently backed off that policy.
Le Pen has dubbed herself 'Madame Frexit' and has vowed to negotiate a new European Union with Brussels, promising the French people a referendum on whether they want to stay with the EU.
While the polls indicate that the French people would prefer to stay with the EU, if they vote for a Frexit, the EU would need to amend its constitution to let France leave. However, the aftermath of a Frexit would be simple: Economic chaos for everyone involved, including France.
If France left the EU, the interest on their debt alone would hamstring their economy. According to the French Central Bank, it would cost France $32 billion a year just to service their debt outside the EU.
Le Pen has predicted that after France leaves the EU, Italy, Greece and Spain will follow suit. At this point, while it seems unlikely that France will vote to leave the EU, a Frexit could lead to a house of cards scenario where the entire experiment implodes.
Germany's Europe Minister Michael Roth has predicted that a Le Pen victory would “ have massive consequences for a united Europe and be “the end of the EU as we know it.”
“I never thought that in my lifetime I could believe that the European Union will be threatened, but it is threatened,” Gérard Araud, France’s Ambassador to the US, told NPR.
For Europe's leaders, a Le Pen victory could be the stuff of nightmares and possibly, shake the European Union to its core.
Her impact on the world
A victory for Le Pen would be the third political earthquake in the past year, after Brexit and the Donald Trump presidency. It would continue the ascendancy of the Right across the globe and reignite the anti-establishment sentiment, which was recently dimmed by the loss that Dutch candidate Geert Wilders’s suffered earlier this year.
After voting in the first round, Le Pen made an "appeal to all patriots", saying a vote for her was the key to the "survival of France". She framed the choice between herself and Macron as a referendum on "uncontrolled globalisation”. The voters face a stark choice. Now it is up to them to decide.
The fate of the EU is in their hands.
Published Date: May 07, 2017 15:45 PM | Updated Date: May 07, 2017 15:45 PM