France-First Policies: Marine Le Pen Vs. Globalization

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, kicked off her presidential campaign on February 5th, 2017. She claims that France is in crisis mode and that there is a definite need to bring sovereignty back to France. Le Pen has made it clear during her speeches that France is extremely vulnerable to globalization and Islamic fundamentalism. Her far-left counterpart, Jean-Luc Mélenchan, also rallied in Lyon in the wake of Le Pen’s campaign. The rallies come a day after Emmanuel Macron, a new front runner in the French election, gave a speech in Lyon that drew a large gathering of people. Early suggestions by political strategists state that the support behind the three candidates will make this election unpredictable. Marine Le Pen announced earlier that the National Front has committed itself to uphold 144 assurances for the people of France. One of the key assurances made by the party is to make France free from external influences, such as the European Union (EU).

Le Pen stated that France’s road to freedom is constantly threatened by globalists. Furthermore, Le Pen’s ambitions suggest that a free France will increase the existence and longevity of the French people while calling Muslim ideology a danger to the dignity of every French person. As such, the true victims, according to the National Front leader, are the French patriots. Of course, Le Pen’s speech does not fall too far from U.S. President Donald Trump’s successful campaign run and the Brexit movement. It is also Le Pen’s hope that the National Front will generate similar results in France compared to the U.S. election with their shared platforms consisting of anti-immigration and anti- European Union policies. While the speech was a slap in the EU face, many of the attendees took Le Pen’s agenda to heart with constant chants of “France!” and “This is our Country”.

As Le Pen commented to the media last December on Donald Trump’s victory that it is evident that people can get what they want as long as there is a voice to be heard and a voice to mobilize against the government. In addition, Le Pen attacked her critics for suggesting that her values have only isolated her from Western Europe with her praise for Trump’s successful mobilizing of American people against globalization. Turning the table on French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel, Le Pen proposes that her victory in the upcoming French election will isolate world leaders who advocate for globalization and a more united Europe as they are ultimately failing to put their countries first. In her political approach, globalization is anarchic and threatens France’s desire to be free and independent from its European neighbours. Experts suggest that the party’s steady increase in popular support would give way for the possibility of a Frexit movement that would be implemented if Le Pen takes office.

According to Le Pen, it is the perfect time for France to renegotiate its membership in the EU. Specifically, the party leader intends to fulfill her promise to her supporters that a referendum will be held within six months once elected. Le Pen is confident that sovereignty will return to France as she has disapproved with the EU’s action against Russia. Any sanctions placed on Russia for “allegedly” invading Crimea would take Europe back into the dark times of the Cold War, according to Le Pen. In addition, a fundamental step to gain French sovereignty is to protect its borders with strict regulations regarding Muslim entry into France. The National Front leader sees this approach as a preventative measure on Islamic practices penetrating France and stopping the flow of radicalized terrorists entering the country that would conclusively aid in the preservation of the “real French culture”. With France being the largest Islamic minority nation in Western Europe, five million French-Muslims are concerned about the potential of the National Front party taking the center stage in the race for the presidency.

Europeans and the rest of the world witnessed the sudden rise of far-right movements across the United States, which seem to be spreading into the underbelly of European politics. One can certainly attribute similar platforms generated by Trump to Le Pen’s platform on immigration, border security, and sovereignty. So what does a Marine Le Pen presidency look like? Commentators suggest that conforming to French culture is mandatory for asylum seekers, especially those that identify as Muslims. It is now or never for France to identify itself as France according to Le Pen. But with so much criticism and human rights protests around the world over Inauguration Day in the United States, is this the right approach? Now is the appropriate time to question world leaders on their political ideologies to see whether gaining national stability and peace can separate itself from international conflict.