France's Le Pen urges show of nationalist force in European elections

By Jean-Francois Rosnoblet FREJUS, France (Reuters) - France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen urged Europe's populist parties to unite against a liberal establishment in next year's European elections, as she made a combative return to the spotlight after her bruising election defeat last year.

Reuters September 17, 2018 01:05:24 IST
France's Le Pen urges show of nationalist force in European elections

Frances Le Pen urges show of nationalist force in European elections

By Jean-Francois Rosnoblet

FREJUS, France (Reuters) - France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen urged Europe's populist parties to unite against a liberal establishment in next year's European elections, as she made a combative return to the spotlight after her bruising election defeat last year.

In a speech on Sunday to supporters of her National Rally party in the southern town of Frejus, Le Pen said her party would campaign for May's European Parliament elections "in liaison" with allies in its Europe of Nations and Freedom party.

France's president Emmanuel Macron has pitched the vote as an open battle between anti-immigrant populists like the National Rally and pro-European Union progressives like himself.

"In France, our objective is to beat Macron," she said to a chorus of cheers in the southern bastion of far-right support.

"In Europe, it is to build with our allies, the other (nationalist) groups, a majority that makes a break from the decaying European Union and moves towards a cooperation of nations which respect each other's diversity and identity."

Le Pen wants to force Brussels to hand back powers to nation states, an outcome supporters of the EU say would sound the death knell for Europe's political and monetary union.

Europe's populists have scored election successes from Italy to Sweden and from Austria to Hungary, yet uniting the eurosceptic parties may prove difficult.

Previous attempts to unite the far right have produced little and Le Pen offered no new answers, reiterating her vision of a Union of European Nations whose member states would cooperate but regain their national sovereignty.

Le Pen has struggled to unite her party and assert her leadership since she was soundly beaten by Macron in last year's presidential run-off vote.

A poll last week of voter intentions for the May election showed Le Pen's party gaining ground to stand neck-and-neck with Macron's centrist LREM.

On Sunday she attacked Macron's first 16 months in office, but saved her toughest words for France and Europe's immigration policy and praised Matteo Salvini, Italy's anti-immigrant interior minister.

"With us, France will once again control its borders," she said.

(Additional reporting and writing by Richard Lough in Paris; Editing by Jan Harvey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

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

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.