France's Le Pen launches election bid with vow to fight globalisation | Reuters
By Ingrid Melander | LYON, France LYON, France France's far-right party leader Marine Le Pen on Sunday told thousands of flag-waving supporters chanting 'This is our country!' that she alone would protect them against Islamic fundamentalism and globalisation if elected president in May.
By Ingrid Melander
| LYON, France
LYON, France France's far-right party leader Marine Le Pen on Sunday told thousands of flag-waving supporters chanting "This is our country!" that she alone would protect them against Islamic fundamentalism and globalisation if elected president in May. Buoyed by Trump's victory and Britons' vote to leave the European Union, Le Pen's anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front (FN) hopes for similar populist momentum in France.With hitherto favourite Francois Fillon, a conservative, embroiled in scandal over his wife's job and rising centrist star, Emmanuel Macron, yet untested, Le Pen's FN says it can thwart polls that see her losing in a second round run-off."What is at stake in this election ... is whether France can still be a free nation," Le Pen told supporters at her campaign launch rally. "The divide is not between the left and right anymore but between patriots and globalists!"
In 144 "commitments" published on Saturday, Le Pen says she would drastically curb migration, expel all illegal migrants and reserve certain rights now available to all residents, including free education, to French citizens only.An FN government would also take France out of the euro zone, hold a referendum on EU membership, slap taxes on imports and on the job contracts of foreigners.
"Past leaders chose deregulated globalisation. They said it would be a happy one, it turned out to be atrocious," Le Pen said. "Financial globalisation and Islamist globalisation are helping each other out ... Those two ideologies want to bring France to its knees." While Le Pen has sought to make the FN more palatable to mainstream voters since she took over from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011, her speech on Sunday made clear that its anti-migration, anti-EU policy remained at the core of her agenda.
Le Pen received some of the loudest applause during her speech, with standing ovations to the sound of "France! France!" and "On est chez nous!" ("This is our country") when she pledged to expel all foreigners condemned for a crime or misdemeanor, and when she said migrants without identity papers could never be legally allowed to stay in France or get free healthcare. The crowd chanted in response: "We're going to win! We're going to win!" (Additional reporting by Simon Carraud; Editing by Louise Ireland)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
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