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Le Pen: I admire 'cool head' Putin's resistance to West's new Cold War


interview

Le Pen: I admire 'cool head' Putin's resistance to West's new Cold War

She has been the leader of the anti-immigration, anti-EU Front Nationale in France since 2011 and has just been unanimously re-elected by her party at its annual conference. It won most French seats in the 2014 European elections and is poised to mount a serious challenge for the presidency in 2017. Marine Le Pen spoke to Euronews’ Sophie Desjardin.

SD
Marine Le Pen, the opinion polls continually have your party first among the opposition. What do you think when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning?

MLP:
I’m preparing the great democratic upset that’s going to happen in the next presidential election for sure. It’s the aim of each one of us in the Front Nationale to do our utmost to win power so we can pursue our policies, not just to have power for itself, but to change the situation in our country.

SD
When you started your career as a lawyer, you sometimes defended foreigners who had no residency status. It seems you fought for their right to stay in France. What became of that Marine Le Pen?

MLP
She’s still here! What you have to understand is that we can reasonably consider that a process is devastating for a country – which is the case for immigration – without wanting to make those who weren’t responsible for the situation pay for the political choices of our leaders. We have always said we’ve nothing against immigrants, but rather those who made them come here.

SD
You talk about ending massive immigration, but, realistically, what are you going to do with those undocumented people already here and those who feel they have to come to Europe to save their lives?

MLP
But they can go home. I’m here to save the skin of the French people. I do understand suffering, but I think first we have to tackle the causes. I would take the same approach as the Pope, that is, lay the situation at the door of the warmongers.

SD
But if tomorrow you’re elected, you’ve told us you would stop all that. You went to Lampedusa, you saw the distress of these people. It’s one thing to say ‘stop the boats and send them home’, but would you drive the boat?

MLP
Have you been to Lampedusa?

SD
Yes.

MLP
You will have seen young people who come to work in Europe because they have been led to believe that there was work in Europe. Because we led them to believe that it was Eldorado. So, in a way, they are also victims of lies as much as the French people who suffer the consequences of this immigration, to whom we say ‘could you make room because there are people coming’. Well, no, we can’t make room. We can’t, because there’s no more room.

SD
Turning to Europe, and to put it simply, you want France out of the eurozone and the EU. But if France alone were to leave the euro it would be hugely complicated.

MLP
Listen, I wouldn’t be so sure about that because the countries that are outside the European Union are doing very well.

SD
But they were never in in the first place, that’s the difference.

MLP
So the moment you join you’re condemned to stay?

SD
No, but it’s more difficult to get out.
We don’t know because there’s no precedent.

MLP
But that’s because we’re kind of guinea pigs in this experiment. They’re trying to impose a kind of Europe on us which is not at all the one we were sold… and then afterwards they say ‘Oops! we never thought about how you could get out.’ There’s a kind of amateurism in not having foreseen a process where one of the populations of the European Union people would want to leave this European Union.

SD
What do you think of someone who criticises their company?

MLP
Well, that depends on the circumstances but if was done publicly, that wouldn’t be very loyal.Why?

SD
Well, what are you doing at the European Parliament, which contributes so much to your income?

MLP:
You’re very kind, madam, but I am not an employee. OK? I am not an employee of the European Union. I am an elected representative of the people. Excuse me! Excuse me! I’m elected by my voters who strongly feel that the Front Nationale must have a maximum of representatives to protect them from the European Union.

SD
Are you ideologically close to Vladimir Putin?

MLP
I share at least a part of Vladimir Putin’s economic vision. That’s for sure, but it didn’t start yesterday.
The Front Nationale has never changed its position on this subject. We welcomed the arrival of a government that did not serve the ‘apparatchiks’ ; and which developed a patriotic economy.

SD
You’ve said you have a certain admiration for him as a person.

MLP
Yes. I admire his cool head. Because there is a cold war being waged against him by the EU at the behest of United States, which is defending its own interests. I admire that he has managed to restore pride and contentment to a great nation that had been humiliated and persecuted for 70 years. Simple as that. I think that there are things you have to look on with a positive eye, or at least with an impartial eye .

SD
Well, just on the reasons behind those tensions, a small number of countries have recognised the political situation in Crimea in relation to Russia. What about you. do you approve of the annexation?

MLP
At the time that that referendum was organised there was no legitimate power in Ukraine. It was an illegitimate power, a putsch.

SD
It was Viktor Yanukovich himself who left. No one forced him to go. He fled.

MLP:
Yes, with a knife at his throat. I think if he had stayed he would have been eliminated. So, I think the referendum was organised in conditions that were not so contestable and that the will of Crimea to be part of Russia is not so contestable. The annexation to Ukraine was against the will of Crimea.”

SD
But Ukraine didn’t steal Crimea. It was Khrushchev who gave Crimea to Ukraine.

MLP:
Yes, it was a gift. It was a gift, a gift. But I think Crimea would never have returned to Russia if the EU had not moved to recognise a government in Ukraine that was not, at the time, totally legitimate. The EU committed a serious error. In as much as there are highly dubious elements in this government, particularly a certain number of notorious Nazis.

SD
They say that about your entourage also!

MLP:
You’re joking, I hope! When I talk about Nazis in Ukraine, I’m talking about Nazis, Nazis, meaning Nazis with Nazi flags. But once again history will prove us right! But it’s alright, (sarcastically). I see, (you think), that there are nice Nazis. When they’re Ukrainian they’re ‘nice’ Nazis, not ‘nasty’ Nazis!

I’ve seen in the past governments condemned for brutalising their people, for firing on them. But that one in Kyiv is bombarding its own people, and no one is taking it to task.

SD
Are you for or against a coalition against the Islamic State?

MLP:
Well, I’d first like to know if it would be effective. I’d like to know who would be in this coalition. To be in a coalition with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, that would make me fall out of my chair. Because they are the countries who are financing Islamic fundamentalism. So to join a coalition with those countries would be just crazy.

SD
So we should just leave it alone, the Islamic State?

MLP:
No. I didn’t say that. But first, do we have to stop ourselves from going into Syria to fight them? We tell ourselves ‘we can’t do that because that would help Bashar al Assad.’

SD
Even into Syria?

MLP:
Of course, in Syria! But obviously with the agreement of the Syrian government.

SD
So you defend national sovereignty in Syria but not in Ukraine?

MLP:
But, Madam, in Ukraine no one has come in to force… once again…

SD (interrupts)
In the same manner that some say they know Qatar aids and militarily finances the Islamic State, we know who helps the Ukrainian rebels.

MLP:
When it’s the Americans telling me that, please allow me to have my doubts. Besides, I doubt everything the Americans say. Is that clear? Whatever the Americans say say is questionable.

SD
Just to finish, give us a word, adjective to describe these four personalities: François Hollande

MLP:
Not so soft as he appears!

SD
Angela Merkel

MLP:
An Iron Lady

SD
Jean Claude Juncker

MLP:
A sanctified hypocrite

SD
Barack Obama

MLP:
A disappointment

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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