National Rally leader Marine Le Pen no longer wants to leave the EU and is now working towards closer ties with the European far-right.
Marine Le Pen has asserted that neither she nor her party want France's withdrawal from the eurozone.
Speaking at a gathering of her supporters on Saturday ahead of the European elections, the National Rally (RN) leader said that her platform would now “look to change the EU from within”.
The far-right leader has seemingly paid close attention to the ongoing fiasco across the English channel and decided her ends are better served without leaving the pan-European bloc.
But it’s not just the fears that Brexit has highlighted but also the possibilities of what can be achieved if the far-right across Europe works more closely together.
Nationalists, Eurosceptics, and far-right parties are increasing their voter base all across Europe.
The former French presidential candidate wants these parties to join forces in the European Parliament as part of one single "powerful [parliamentary] group".
Who’s coming together?
She even spoke of a "fusion" of three factions: the Europe of Nations and Freedom bloc, where Le Pen's party, the Italian Lega and the Austrian FPO have worked together, and the European Conservatives and Reformers, currently dominated by the British Conservative party and Poland’s governing party Law and Justice [PiS). Such a grouping would also include the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy bloc, which includes Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD), Britain’s UKIP and the Five Star movement in Italy.
No RN representative was present in Milan last Monday when Lega boss Matteo Salvini declared a new alliance with the AfD, representatives of the Danish People's Party, and Finland’s Party of Finland. Their presence was not necessary, says Le Pen: "Salvini was our spokesman". She does not see any conflict with the Italians over the treatment of refugees. "We have the same attitude on immigration: We want to stop it."
But it’s not all plain sailing, especially with regard to the Russian question.
Poland’s Law and Justice Party [PiS] is uncomfortable with the Russia-friendly sentiments of many right-wing populists with even French leader Le Pen admitting: "It gets complicated with the Poles.”
Le Pen is also on a different page to the German AfD when it comes to her demand to end the independence of the European Central Bank and her opposition to current free trade regulations.
“We all reject the EU imposing a single model on us,” Le Pen said.
Will Le Pen’s party guarantee another victory in the EP elections?
Under its former name, Front National, RN won 24.86 percent of the vote in the last European parliamentary elections. Recent polls, however, suggest that the RN might not win as many votes as Emmanuel Macron’s party La Republique En Marche party.
Le Pen has conceded that for the time being pro-EU parties are likely to dominate European politics. Nevertheless, she predicts a "total reorientation of politics".
"It's not just mathematics, it's pressure, it's influence,” she said.