Macron slams Le Pen’s press freedom and Constitution violations
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The French President has been on the campaign trail across the country since he won the first round of the election last weekend. Speaking in Strasbourg to a crowd of supporters waving French and EU flags, Mr Macron said next week’s vote will also be a vote on the European Union.
He said: “I want to speak to you here with the words of the heart, the conviction to tell you why this election is also a referendum on Europe.
“The right-wing candidate proposes a nationalist project, which is not patriotism.
“This nationalist project, and I say it here, a few meters from where François Mitterrand pronounced these words, among the last of his last mandate: ‘Nationalism is war’.
“And so yes, the far-right project is a project to leave the Council of Europe, that is to say to leave our base of values and rights. To leave the Council of Europe is to leave the European Union, since it is its Constitution, its founding principle.
“This is a project where the far-right candidate explained to us yesterday that she wanted to get out of the energy market.
“What does it mean? In a very concrete way, forty days without light per year and several billion euros of export of our electricity which makes it possible to lower the bill of the French in less. An absurdity.
“Who can believe for a single second that these projects would be comparable? On the European question, who can believe it?
“What I defend is a framework of peace, stability, values, democracy and freedom.
“Our Europe is peace (…) , it is what protects us from crises and war (…). It is through Europe that we will build peace, I tell you with seriousness.”
Speaking at a rally in Eastern France, Macron also accused Le Pen of secretly planning to take the country out of the EU.
He said: “She wants to leave but dare not dare say so, and that’s never good.
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“She says that she wants an alliance of nation states, but she is going to find herself in a corner and she is going to try to come up with an alliance with her friends.”
Marine Le Pen’s electoral manifesto shows plans for a “Frexit in disguise”, in a blow to Brussels’ core border policies.
The French far-right leader of National Rally is closing in on Emmanuel Macron in the latest election polls, and is expected to be the candidate facing the French President in the second round.
Le Pen has apparently moved on from her 2017 strong eurosceptic policies. Once a proponent of abandoning the eurozone, Le Pen now aims to show herself as someone prepared to reform the EU and work with Brussels.
But according to Eurointelligence director, Wolfgang Munchau, “a closer look at her programme reveals that even if she stays away from provocative language, the substance of her nationalistic protectionism just reappears under a new header”.
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He continued: “When she talks about preventing fraud, this turns out to be Frexit in disguise.
“Les Echos was digging in her programme to find that this fraud prevention comes with an increase of border controls. In fact, Le Pen plans to hire 20,000 customs officers to get back to the level of 1990, the times from before the Maastricht Treaty.
“So all these agents she plans to hire are to be placed at the borders with Italy and Germany to control merchandise coming into France.
“Because, as her campaign booklet explains, there is the need for a re-establishment of French borders to counter the serious shortcomings in the mechanisms established by the EU.
“This would question the foundations of the European single market, established in 1993.
“She may not call this Frexit, but this is one way of pushing for it.
“Fraud is now the new code word to divide the good and the bad, meaning France and the EU, allowing French companies to enjoy the benefits of the single market without granting the same to those coming into France.”
The candidate, whose presidential campaign has gained momentum in recent days, on Monday captured 48.5 percent of voter intentions in an opinion poll of a likely runoff against Emmanuel Macron, the highest score she has ever notched.
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