NPR’s Robert Siegel talks to Marine Le Pen, a French politician who is the president of the far-right National Front, the largest political party in France in 2014.
ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: One of President Francois Hollande’s political rivals says his response to last Friday’s attacks is insufficient and unworkable. Marine Le Pen leads the far-right national front. In the last presidential election here, she finished third with 18 percent of the vote. The idea that even one person responsible for the assault would be a Syrian admitted to the European Union and consequently to France as a refugee is grist for her party’s long-term opposition to immigration. At National Front headquarters outside of Paris, I asked Le Pen what the French response to last Friday night’s attacks should be.
MARINE LE PEN: (Through interpreter) France needs to do everything it ought to have done for years, especially since the attack on Charlie Hebdo. This year, we have experienced six attacks on French soil. We need to institute a major policy which would reestablish our own borders. This means we need to stop accepting this influx of immigrants who were 1 million this year and who will be 3 million more next year according to the European Commission.
And since it’s clear to us that the Islamic State is using these migrations to infiltrate terrorists, we must restore the institutions of the army, the police and the justice system as well as customs which were destroyed under Sarkozy and under Francois Hollande. And we must eradicate Islamic fundamentalism on our soil.
SIEGEL: You’ve spoken of reestablishing the borders and mastering the borders. Does that mean renouncing treaties concerning free travel in Europe or the rights of refugees?
LE PEN: (Through interpreter) Yes, yes, absolutely, absolutely.
SIEGEL: And does that mean ripping up the European Union?
LE PEN: (Through interpreter) Yes, but my priority is the safety of the French people. My priority is the sovereignty of the French people over their own territory. The crazy ideology that forced European countries to eliminate their interior borders amounted to abandoning common sense. In fact, 95 percent of the world obviously has borders. You can’t protect yourself without borders. You can expel people who are terrorists, but expel them where–to a border that doesn’t exist any longer? That makes no sense whatsoever. Therefore, borders are an essential element to the liberty of a population. And if that means opposing the European Union, that’s what we’ll have to do.
SIEGEL: Marine Le Pen, merci beaucoup.
LE PEN: Merci a vous.
SIEGEL: That’s Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far-right party the National Front.