'Frexit'? Macron Suspects Le Pen of Plotting Scenario to Take France Out of EU
12:06 GMT 13.04.2022 (Updated: 17:14 GMT 12.04.2023)
© AFP 2023 / BERTRAND GUAYFrance's President Emmanuel Macron addresses a plenary session at the European Parliament to present the programme of activities of the French Presidency as France currently holds the European Union rotating presidency, in Strasbourg, eastern France, on January 19, 2022
© AFP 2023 / BERTRAND GUAY
Emmanuel Macron's right-wing challenger in the presidential election, Marine Le Pen, has frequently criticised the European Union and called for more independence from the bloc.
Incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron has accused his National Rally rival Marine Le Pen of having a secret "Frexit" plan that allegedly envisages pulling France out of the European Union and forming a right-wing alliance with Poland and Hungary.
"She wants to leave but dare not dare say so, and that's never good", Macron asserted at one of his rallies. "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".
According to Macron, Le Pen's purported "club" with Warsaw and Budapest would be "strange" and "not good" for either France or Europe.
The French president touted the European Union as "a space of peace, culture, and democratic values" that has "changed the life of this country". His right-wing challenger, however, does not share the sentiment.
Marine Le Pen has blasted the European Union for its federalism, instead arguing that nations in the bloc could be more independent in their policies. Most recently, she said that Europe is way too dependent on Russian oil and gas, saying that she would prefer France out of the European energy market.
According to Time, Le Pen also would not oppose a Brexit-style referendum in France should she win the second round of the French presidential election in late April.
"In the case of a referendum that is against the fundamental interests of the country, the president and the National Assembly can oppose it, but that is not the case with an exit from the EU", Le Pen said, as cited by Time. "The French can reassess their presence on whichever international organisations they choose".
Yet, one of her party's regional politicians told Time that "Frexit is off the agenda", suggesting that the National Rally leader would instead opt for "weakening" the European Union by establishing closer ties with figures like Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
"There are so many other countries with likewise views in the EU Parliament that we think we can change the EU from within", the unnamed politician told the outlet.