At a right-wing meeting aiming to oust established parties in elections this year, France’s Far-right leader Marine Le Pen urged European voters to follow the example of Americans and the British and “wake up” in 2017.
Speaking to several hundred supporters in the German city of Koblenz, Le Pen said that Britons’ vote last year to leave the European Union would set in train a “domino effect”.
A day after U.S. President Donald Trump took office, Le Pen said his inauguration speech included “accents in common” with the message on reclaiming national sovereignty proclaimed by the far-right leaders meeting in Koblenz.
“2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. I am sure 2017 will be the year the people of continental Europe wake up,” she said to loud applause on Saturday.
Populist parties are on the rise across Europe. Unemployment and austerity, the arrival of record numbers of refugees and militant attacks in France, Belgium and Germany have left voters disillusioned with conventional parties.
Le Pen, head of the anti-European Union, anti-immigrant National Front (FN) and seen by pollsters as highly likely to make a two-person runoff vote for the French presidency in May, has marked out Europe as a major plank in her programme.
“The key factor that is going to set in course all the dominos of Europe is Brexit,” Le Pen said. “A sovereign people chose … to decide its destiny itself.”
Of Trump, she added: “His position on Europe is clear: he does not support a system of oppression of peoples.”
In a joint interview with the Times of London and the German newspaper Bild published on Monday, Trump said the EU had become “a vehicle for Germany” and predicted that more EU member states would vote to leave the bloc, as Britain did last June.
Le Pen said if elected she would ask the EU to return sovereign powers to France and hold a referendum on the outcome of negotiations she expected to follow. If the EU rejected her demands, she said: “I will suggest to the French people: exit!”