North Texas Daily

Marine Le Pen: The future of the European Union

Marine Le Pen: The future of the European Union

Marine Le Pen: The future of the European Union
April 26
16:50 2017

Matthew Li | Staff Writer

The parallels between Marine Le Pen, the leader of the conservative National Front, and President Donald Trump are alarmingly close. It seems like France saw what was happening in America, and how effective Trump was and decided to create their own female Trump to match ours.

While it is classic American bravado to respect another country’s president, Marine Le Pen is not as well received. In the French general election, Le Pen and Emanuel Macron – the more socially and fiscally liberal leader of “En Marche!” – were the top two contenders and qualifiers for the runoff elections to determine the President of France. “En Marche!” is a relatively new political party founded by Macron, espousing a bipartisan approach to both the left and the right while its social ideals are more socialist and liberal than not. 

Macron differs from many other French Socialists on his immigration stances. His liberal stance reflects that of Angela Merkel’s of Germany, and practices tolerance towards Muslims. So far, this has hurt his campaign more and more as terrorist attacks have driven the French against the idea of open immigration. The Nov. 15 terrorist attacks as well as the recent shooting of Xavier Jugelé have shifted public opinion further away from Merkel’s immigrant utopia.

While it seems that Trump would support Le Pen, their ideals are actually quite disparate. Trump, once again, has spun a complete 180 on his views on Putin. He no longer adores him, and he views Putin with more hostility than ever before. Le Pen, on the other hand, is a strong supporter of Putin. When Trump started launching missiles at Syria, a majority of western leaders supported him except for Le Pen, who condemned his attacks.

Through her “hands-off” approach, the fight against ISIS and terrorism would take a huge blow. Putin and Le Pen are on the same page about global policy, and having a leader that is so sympathetic to Russia in the heart of Europe would be a bomb waiting to explode.

Speaking of fighting terrorism, Trump has now reversed his stance on NATO. Last month, I listed reasons why Trump felt like NATO should be disbanded, but he’s since had a change of heart and has supported NATO again. However, Le Pen currently holds the same viewpoint that Trump once did: that NATO is obsolete and deserves to be defunded.

Globalization has also been the target of Le Pen’s proposed immigration and economic policies. The most notable and dangerous of them is for France to leave the European Union altogether. The reasons she has for this are the same ones that Britain had: stronger currency, a decline of national industries and involvement in the Greek bailout have been the result of strong nationalistic sentiment.

Even if all she said is true, she fails to realize if France, a major contributor to the health and stability of the European Union, was to leave, the resulting economic shockwave would destabilize France’s own economythe EU’s and that of international markets such as the United States. Great Britain leaving the EU sent shockwaves into the world so if a second major power left, there would be only Germany left to prop up the other remaining members.

Stock markets around the world would react massively, and lead to severe financial unrest. John C. Kornblum, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, said, “For the sake of world psychological health, it would be better if Macron won.” Worst case scenario: the entire EU collapses and old borders return, leaving the world with more barriers to break down in an era of increasing hostility.

Le Pen has spent a majority of her time at the Helm of the National Front cleaning up her father’s, Jean-Marie Le Pen, mistakes and rebranding the National Front as a more open-minded, civil organization that espouses traditional French values.

The “de-demonization” process that the NF went through involved cutting ties to its former leader allowed it to appeal to a younger generation. Jean-Marie was quoted saying that the Holocaust was a mere “detail” in history, and was not significant enough to allow it a place in the history books. Cutting ties with such a figure has helped distance the NF from some of its radical roots.

A win for Macron would spell a united Europe and further collaboration with the United States on fighting ISIS. A win for Le Pen would result in a divided Europe, less support to fighting ISIS and potential financial instability in the U.S. Hopefully on May 7, the people of France make the right choice and bring a new era of stability to the world.

Featured Image: Marine Le Pen is the leader of France’s National Front. Wikimedia Commons.

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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