Eric Zemmour leads French skeptical EU as far-right agitator presses Poland-EU row
Zemmour was not alone in seeking, through Polish rule, to capitalize on the skepticism inherent in the EU in a country that voted against the European Constitutional Treaty in 2005.
Potential main right-wing rivals jumped at the breach as Xavier Bertrand proposed a “protection mechanism for French supreme interests” that would take precedence over EU law. Even Michel Barnier, the EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator, has called for French “judicial sovereignty” – if only for immigration.
In an almost identical reaction to the Polish ruling, Le Pen said on Friday she wanted the French law “inscribed in the constitution” to take precedence. However, their advocacy put both hardliners in a difficult place.
No plan for ‘Frexit’
The leader of the National Rally, who has made it clear that she does not intend to leave the EU or the euro if elected, said that France would not be required to withdraw from EU treaties to achieve this, as EU laws could simply be left to be considered a breach. The French constitution is “not implemented”.
Zemmour – who has often praised Brexit – also indicated that he would not leave the euro nor the EU for the time being. We want to be economically reliable. This excludes adventures such as leaving the euro or the union,” a member of his staff told Challenges magazine.
Sensing his Achilles heel, France’s outspoken Europe Minister, Clément Bonn, tweeted: “Own: this means leaving the EU and the euro. The sail is torn [the mask is slipping]: # European Union. “
It remains to be seen how precisely this debate begins with Macron, the champion of European integration.
For the time being, Mr. Zemmour, who has not yet announced his candidacy and is content with a tour of France to discuss his latest book, will not be withdrawn. France has not said its last word.
Selling 165,000 copies in three weeks, his essay paints a death-filled picture of a country on the verge of civil war in which “no small village in France is safe from the savage sorties of Chechens or Kosovar teams, or Moors or Africans who steam, rape, pillage, torture and kill.”
Ms. Le Pen started pretending to be indifferent only to dismiss this week’s election as “insufficient credibility” given the remoteness of the election and to appeal to Eric to throw his hat in the ring.
‘It’s a matter of political honesty’
“You can’t argue with someone who is not yet a candidate,” she said while at a cattle fair in Clermont-Ferrand. “It is a matter of loyalty to the French, and of political honesty.”
She dismissed him privately, calling him an unelectable provocateur. However, its aides and allies are far less optimistic, with several saying that by seeking to appeal to a wider audience, it has softened the Le Pen brand.
“Of course this latest poll was a huge surprise. I was the first to say this is de-demonization [the Front National] Rep. Gilbert Collard of the far right said. “Ideally, there will be an agreement between Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour before the first [presidential] round.”
However, the way things are going, Mr. Zemmour, if he sees him, may not need her support.
For Frédéric Dabe of Ifop pollster, Ms Le Pen is now “relatively weakened” by Mr Zemmour who described him as a “slow poison seeping into the part of RN voters who already had doubts about the RN candidate after them.” [disastrous] Second round campaign in 2017.”
Bravely for her, Le Pen’s far-right rival has already received encouragement from her niece Marion Marechal who appeared alongside Zemour at a “demographic” summit in Budapest with their “friend”, illiberal Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, last month.
Meanwhile, Le Pen’s troubling father Jean-Marie, ousted by outbursts of Holocaust denial, declares that he can vote for Mr. Zemmour – with whom he enjoys chatting at his “château” in Montretotte, outside Paris – if he is. It is best to beat Mr. Macron.
Heading to London
He reportedly had the support of former Catholic National Front cadres and figures from the traditional Catholic movement Sens Common, which organized rallies against same-sex marriage and backed conservative François Fillon in 2017 before he dropped out of the race in disgrace over a fake jobs scandal.
Next month, he will come to London in search of support.
“Eric Zemmour appears as a man who is not from the establishment, does not belong to a political class and symbolizes fairly well clearance [the French urge to throw out the old order]Political scientist Pascal Perino said.
“It could run out of power but for now, what a transformation in two weeks.”