EU warned over huge spanner in the works as France could cosy up to Putins Russia

Marine Le Pen 'threatening Macron in elections' says expert

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Ms Le Pen currently appears to be Emmanuel Macron’s main challenger in the French elections, which begin on 10 April 2022. Speaking to Express.co.uk, political scientist Andrew Glencross said that the election of the far-right candidate would “hugely” impact on France’s relationship with the EU. This is because her agenda would be focused on “trying to undo a lot of European legislation”, such as the Schengen Border Area.

Ms Le Pen has been vocal in her opposition to the EU Schengen border-free zone, in the 2017 election saying she would remove it completely.

She also promised a ‘Frexit’ at the previous election but has since softened her stance.

But her anti-EU policies, Mr Glencross said, would still be a major issue for the “functioning of the EU on a daily basis”.

He added that it would negatively impact on France’s relationship with Olaf Scholz’ Germany, as many of her policies would be “completely taboo in Germany”.

Mr Glencross also warned that Ms Le Pen would take a “much more Putin friendly” approach to international relations, noting that she has “a very different view” on the Russian leader.

In 2017, the far-right politician lent support to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, saying that she would “envisage” lifting sanctions on Russia “quite quickly” were she elected.

The French presidential hopeful also has some policy overlaps with Mr Putin, as both leaders oppose the EU and NATO.

This comes as Mr Putin is currently engaged in a military stand-off with the West, demanding that NATO bar Ukraine from joining the defensive alliance.

The Russian leader has built up 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, with many speculating that he is planning an imminent invasion.

Speaking to Express.co.uk about a potential victory for Ms Le Pen, Mr Glencross said it would “hugely” impact on France’s relationship with the EU, adding: “And it wouldn’t be possible really for Marine Le Pen as President to work with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on a common foreign agenda.

“Relationship with Russia – Marine Le Pen has a very different view on Vladimir Putin, much more Putin friendly.

“Much more about trying to undo a lot of European legislation like the Schengen Border Area.

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“All of these things that would be completely taboo in Germany and therefore that would be obviously a huge, huge spanner in the works for the functioning of the EU on a daily basis.”

However, he also said that Mr Macron is currently “in a very strong position”, as a result of his “helplessly disorganised” challengers.

He said: “He’s feeling pretty confident with the election because there is such a disparate opposition right now – in terms of two far-right candidates and such a helplessly disorganised socialist party still – that he is the one who can end up surfing all of that once again like 2017.

“He wants things to be as similar to 2017 as possible, with extremists on either side who look like the wrong choice and therefore he holds the middle ground.”

As well as being rivalled by Ms Le Pen, Mr Macron is also facing a challenge from far-right candidate Éric Zemmour and conservative Valérie Pécresse.

A poll by Harris Interactive for the magazine Challenges showed Mr Macron taking 24 percent of votes in the first round of the election.

Meanwhile, Ms Le Pen, Mr Zemmour and Ms Pécresse were all tied on 16 percent.

The poll said Mr Macron would win in April’s run-off vote, estimating a margin of 51-49 percent against Ms Pécresse, 55-45 percent against Ms Le Pen, and 61-39 percent against Mr Zemmour.

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