Post-Ukraine, France’s Le Pen wants closer NATO-Russia links


PARIS (Reuters) – French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen mentioned on Wednesday that after the Russia-Ukraine struggle was over, she would suggest closer links between NATO and Russia as she sought to clear up “misunderstandings” over her overseas coverage.

A Le Pen victory in France’s presidential election runoff on April 24 would reverberate via Europe and throughout the Atlantic, putting in a deep eurosceptic within the Elysee Palace and somebody who had lengthy professed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“As quickly because the Russian-Ukrainian struggle is over and has been settled by a peace treaty, I’ll name for the implementation of a strategic rapprochement between NATO and Russia,” Le Pen instructed a information convention filled with worldwide reporters.

Five years in the past, earlier than she confronted Emmanuel Macron within the 2017 presidential election runoff which she misplaced closely, Putin hosted Le Pen on the Kremlin with open arms.

At the time, she declared admiringly that she shared the identical values as Putin and {that a} “new world order” was rising with him, then-U.S. President Donald Trump and her on the helm.

Le Pen has modified tack on Russia for the reason that struggle in Ukraine and mentioned she was “unbiased” of any overseas nation.

Wednesday’s information convention was briefly interrupted when a protester brandished an image of the 2017 encounter with Putin, reduce out within the form of a coronary heart. The protester was taken out of the room by safety.

Le Pen additionally mentioned she needed to maintain a detailed relationship with Germany, however warned that there have been strategic variations between the 2, which might imply placing an finish to a sequence of Franco-German joint army programmes.

“I’d proceed … reconciliation with out following the Macron-Merkel mannequin of French blindness in the direction of Berlin,” she mentioned.

She mentioned she needed a looser model of the European Union, though reaffirmed that she would stay within the bloc. Le Pen has dropped previous unpopular proposals to ditch the euro or depart the EU.

“Nobody is towards Europe,” she mentioned. “I’d not cease paying France’s contribution to the EU, I need to diminish it.”

Le Pen got here second behind Macron within the first spherical and polling companies put her carefully behind Macron for the second spherical on April 24.

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