Interview with Marine Le Pen 'I Don't Want this European Soviet Union'

Interview Conducted By

Part 2: 'Xenophobia Is the Hatred of Foreigners. I Don't Hate Anyone'


SPIEGEL: Does the Front National want France to return to the early 1960s: A protectionist state that steers the economy, an authoritarian head of state and less immigration?

Le Pen: It is undeniable that the French were in a better situation then than they are today. I don't look in the rearview mirror. But there was no need for us to experience an end to social progress since then. It makes no sense that we took on 10 million foreigners within a period of 30 years.

SPIEGEL: Do you really think that France can hide from the world?

Le Pen: I'm not talking about autarky. I'm not crazy. We need an intelligent protectionism. We need customs duties again -- though not for countries that have the same social (security) levels as we do. That's fair competition. The problem is the total opening of borders and allowing the law of the jungle to prevail: The further a company goes today to find slaves, which it then treats like animals and pays a pittance, without regard for environmental laws, the more it earns.

SPIEGEL: Is free trade really such a bad thing?

Le Pen: Trade has always existed, but we used to defend our strategic interests. Could you imagine the United States allowing (French engineering giant) Alstom to purchase General Electric? I don't think so. And I don't want (Germany's) Siemens to buy Alstom. I want Alstom to remain French. That is strategically important for my country's independence.

SPIEGEL: But Alstom has major problems.

Le Pen: One could nationalize a company, even if only temporarily, in order to stabilize it.

SPIEGEL: When you took over the Front National in a desolate state from your father in 2011, did you really think that it could become France's strongest party?

Le Pen: Of course, otherwise I wouldn't have done this. If I didn't believe that we had a chance of coming to power, then I would have focused on taking care of my three children or gardening.

SPIEGEL: Since taking over leadership of the party, you have worked on the "de-demonization" of Front National. Have you finally achieved that with this election result?

Le Pen: Certainly among the people. But the elite, of course, continue to defend themselves. But are we treated like every other party? No. Not by the press and certainly not by the political classes.

SPIEGEL: What is the real Front National? On the one hand, you have your young deputy Florian Philippot, a self-described Gaullist. On the other, you have your father, who recently said that "Monseignor Ebola" could solve the global population explosion within three months.

Le Pen: He did not say "could". And that was not his wish, it was merely a concern he expressed. You know, they used to describe Gaullism as being the "metro crowd at rush hour." That's where you find Jean-Marie Le Pen and Florian Philippot, you find craftsmen, heads of companies and civil servants. We want to represent all the French people with ideas that are neither left nor right: patriotism, defense of the identity and sovereignty of the people. If a person like me is described as being extreme-left and extreme-right at the same time, then that isn't far off the mark.

SPIEGEL: Front National is an anti-immigration party. Polls show that immigration is the issue of greatest concern to voters.

Le Pen: Yes, we support putting a stop to immigration.

SPIEGEL: Why such xenophobia?

Le Pen: Xenophobia is the hatred of foreigners. I don't hate anyone.

SPIEGEL: In Germany today, there is far more immigration than in France. Despite this, there are no parties like yours.

Le Pen: We have millions of unemployed and cannot afford any more immigration. Where are they supposed to live? It is not viable.

SPIEGEL: Is your success the product of the failure of the elite? Socialist politician Samia Ghali argues that the French wanted someone who spoke to their hearts and that you, unfortunately, were the only one who did so.

Le Pen: Our political class no longer has any convictions. You can only pass along the beliefs that you hold. They no longer believe in France -- they have a post-national worldview. I call them France-skeptics. That's why democracy is collapsing here in France.

SPIEGEL: Prime Minister Manuel Valls still has convictions. They just aren't the same ones that you have.

Le Pen: I don't believe that. He is a man with no convictions whatsoever, just like Nicolas Sarkozy. These are people who will tell you anything just to further their little careers.

SPIEGEL: Perhaps you're simply saying that because Valls, who was interior minister before becoming premier, is the only member of the government who is actually even popular with your voters.

Le Pen: He is popular because the others in the government are unpopular. Interior ministers are always popular because they give people the feeling that they are taking care of security, even when they are just people with tough words and a soft hand.

SPIEGEL: Do you think you'll make it into second round of voting in the 2017 presidential elections?

Le Pen: I think that is a very credible hypothesis, yes. Everyone admits that today. If you look at the polls you'll notice that we have at least as many potential voters among non-voters as we do among voters. I have said, and I believe that we will, come to power within the next 10 years. It may even happen faster than some can imagine.

SPIEGEL: Hollande is less popular than any president who preceded him. Are you already focusing your presidential campaign entirely on Nicolas Sarkozy?

Le Pen: I don't shoot at ambulances. Sarkozy is already finished as a candidate.

SPIEGEL: You mean because of his entanglement in the finance scandal surrounding his UMP, which has already forced party boss Jean-François Copé to resign?

Le Pen: Yes. Now he's finished. He cheated. He violated the laws of the Republic and spent twice as much on his campaign as is allowed by law. By doing so, he has totally disqualified himself. Incidentally, I regret it, because I would like to have had him as an opponent.

SPIEGEL: Why?

Le Pen: Because he is who he is.

SPIEGEL: Why are you supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin in his position against Europe in the Ukraine crisis?

Le Pen: I do not support Putin against Europe. This is a caricature. I support a federalist Ukraine. The EU poured fuel on the fire by proposing an economic partnership to a country known to look half to the East and half to the West.

SPIEGEL: Do you admire Putin?

Le Pen: I have a certain admiration for Vladimir Putin because he doesn't allow decisions to be forced upon him by other countries. I think he focuses first and foremost on what is good for Russia and the Russians. As such, I have the same respect for Putin that I do for Ms. Merkel.

SPIEGEL: Putin isn't a democrat.

Le Pen: Oh really? He isn't a democrat? There are no elections in Russia?

SPIEGEL: There is no freedom of the press, for example.

Le Pen: But you think that there is real freedom of the press in France? Ninety-nine percent of the journalists are leftists!

SPIEGEL: That's what you think. But journalists aren't killed and they aren't locked up.

Le Pen: To be honest, there are many things said about Russia because they have been demonized for years at the behest of the USA. It is part of the greatness of a European country to develop one's own opinion and to not view everything through the US lens. We have no lesson to teach Russia if we concurrently roll out the red carpet to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and China.

SPIEGEL: So you are more opposed to the US than you are in favor of Russia?

Le Pen: The Americans are trying to expand their influence in the world, particularly in Europe. They are defending their own interests, not ours. I am in favor of a multi-polar world in which France once again takes its position as the leader of non-aligned states, not with the US, not with Russia and not with Germany. One should strive to be neither slave nor master.

SPIEGEL: Ms. Le Pen, we thank you for this interview.

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h_calloway 06/03/2014
1. Wow!
This lady has guts. I have to admit. She is not shying away from any question, does not give the politically correct answer but says what she thinks. My respect. And what she says about national sovereignty hits the mark. This is what I hear when I am in Germany. I believe she has the instincts of exactly knowing the trends in the French society. She is right on the money when she assumes that the French people want an end to limitless immigration and open borders. By the way, the German people think the same way, the success of Sarrazin's book in Germany shows that. What I observe in Europe is that the media elite and the political class are living in two different worlds. The elites still preach the benefits of multiculturalism while the citizens see every day the problems that immigration on a large scale produce. Also, for many Europeans the Brussels bureaucracy is a faceless leviathan that is a power that influences their lives without any accountability. People are becoming more and more weary about that and start to question the whole European project. And Le Pen senses this, and I believe that she'll be a force to be aware of in the future.
edleal 06/03/2014
2. Le Pen
What glorious history are you referring to Ms. Le Pen? Regardless of political affiliation the French can be relied upon for good wine and pastries and unbridled/unjustified arrogance. The "glory" that was once France is in the distant past regardless of Ms. Le Pens delusion ideas of France's place in today's world.
soid 06/03/2014
3. The Euro was created by Germany, for Germany?!
The reality, as reported in Der Spiegel in September, 2010 ("The Price of Unity: Was the Deutsche Mark Sacrificed for Reunification?" http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/the-price-of-unity-was-the-deutsche-mark-sacrificed-for-reunification-a-719940.html) was that the Euro was forced down Germany's throat by France's own Mitterand as the price of France's agreement to German re-unification. Negotiations towards a currency union to replace the existing "currency band" structure had been grinding on for a long time. France was suffering under the existing currency structure (which they were instrumental in creating,just like the EU itself) because of its own absurd economic policies and Germany's strong economy. France wanted all the benefits of a currency union without consenting to the political integration necessary to make it work. In short, the French were the main perpetrators of the problems that all of Europe faces today. Germany, quite sensibly, did not want such a currency union without political integration, but it wanted reunification even more. Yes, Germany agreed to something it should never have agreed to, but they were put in an impossible position by the French. I think the English word for it is extortion. It is entirely fair to say that the Euro was, in fact, created by the French, for the French, without much thought to the monster that they were giving birth to. Maybe they thought they could control the monster, just like they thought that they should run the new Europe, with French as the official language. If the Euro fails, Germany will not suffer enormously. No country is more committed to the European idea than Germany, but no country needs it less.
paris_girl 06/03/2014
4. Throw Out The Oligarchs Now! The Are Not In Charge The People Are!!
THE EU OVERSEERS IN PARLEIMENT ARE NOT ELECTED HENCE THEY ARE APPOINTED AND WORK FOR THE OLIGARCHS WHO OWN THE PLANET!! THEY DO NOT REPRESENT YOU OR ME OR ANYONE NORMAL! MIDDLE CLASS WORKING CLASS OR JUST PLAIN FOLKS. IN FACT THEY ARE RAPING ALL OF HUMANITY TO ENRICH THEMSELVES AND MAKE A BUCK!! AND THEN THESE ARROGANT BASTARDS EXPECT US TO PAY THEIR BILLS FOR WARS WE DON'T WANT! AND THEIR BANKSTER CARTEL FAILINGS. JAIL THEM NOW!! FOR THEIR CRIMES! TRIAL THEM NOW!! AND CONFISCATE THEIR WEALTH AND MAKE OUR LIVES HAVE A BETTER CHANCE TO THRIVE AND HAVE A LIVING STANDARD THAT IS ACCECTABLE!! AND HUMANE!! THE GIG IS UP!! THEY MUST BE THROWN OUT!
awareadams 06/03/2014
5. French hypocrisy
Of all the countries in the EU the biggest “panhandler” and “moocher” is France. Germany should not be reluctant to play tough with these lazy jerks who get much more back than every Euro they pay. De Gaulle had it right: he said, “The trouble with the French is that…..they are ‘French’”!!!
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