What does France’s National Front stand for?
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As Marine Le Pen, who heads France’s far-right National Front (FN), tries to form a eurosceptic group in Brussels with other like-minded political movements, FRANCE 24 takes a look at her party’s policies.
The FN doesn't like being called "far right". But it remains unashamedly protectionist and populist, while espousing a strong desire to reduce immigration – especially from Africa.
It overtly privileges the rights of French citizens over foreigners and immigrants.
The party is especially keen to repatriate powers from Europe and to boost France’s international power and prestige.
Here is a breakdown of the FN’s main policies, sourced from the party’s own manifesto.
-A reduction in legal immigration to France from the current 200,000 a year to 10,000.
-A ban on automatic immigration rights to join a spouse or family member residing legally in France.
-An end to the European Schengen Area, which gives free cross-border movement, and reinstatement of border checks.
-A toughening of the requirements to get French citizenship, which the FN says should not be automatic, while insisting that applicants demonstrate a strong commitment to France and its language.
-Zero tolerance of illegal immigration and an end to illegal immigrants’ rights to remain in France if they have been in the country for a given period.
-Priority to be given to French citizens over foreigners for jobs and for social housing.
-Banning dual nationality for non-Europeans, which would particularly affect citizens of former French colonies in Africa.
Justice and security:
-The justice department to be given a 25% increase in funding.
-The creation of 40,000 new prison places.
-The deportation of foreign criminals once new treaties have been negotiated with their countries so that sentences can be served abroad.
-A referendum to give the French public the choice between reinstating full-life terms or the death penalty.
-Police to have “legitimate defence” when using their firearms or using force against suspects.
-Doubling the number of police officers in France’s anti-crime squads.
-Giving police greater power to tap phones and Internet communications.
Culture and the French language:
-Maintained support for France’s cultural exceptionalism, which favours the French audio-visual industry against foreign (mostly US) competition.
-Aggressive promotion of the French language internationally to restore French influence abroad. “Language and power go hand in hand,” reads the party’s manifesto.
-Fighting against the growing ubiquity of English in international standards and filing of patents.
-Overturning laws restricting Internet use, such as legislation against file sharing.
-Family benefits, including child support, to be only available to French families (or where at least one parent is French).
-Guaranteeing the freedom of women to have abortions.
-Promotion of traditional family values, especially in terms of parenthood. The FN would overturn laws allowing gay marriage and adoption, believing that existing legislation for civil partnerships (PACS) is perfectly adequate.
-The FN would seek to re-negotiate all EU treaties in order to claw back national sovereignty.
-Take back full control of the country’s frontiers.
-Establish primacy of national laws over European laws.
-Leave the Euro.
-Create a French agricultural policy and leave the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for which France is, in fact, a net beneficiary.
-While rejecting an increasingly harmonious European Union, the FN would like to see the creation of a Pan-European Union of Sovereign States, to include Russia and Switzerland, but specifically not Turkey.
-The creation of a trilateral alliance between France, Germany and Russia.
-The renegotiation of all economic relationships with former colonies (particularly in Africa) in order to force these countries to reduce immigration towards France.
-Help French firms invest in Africa in order to counter growing Chinese, Indian and Latin American influence there.
-Investment to make France a maritime power, in both the private and public sectors, to include new submarines and a second aircraft carrier.
-Promotion of France’s nuclear capability as “the ultimate deterrent”.
Industry, employment and taxation:
-Huge investment in re-industrialisation of France which would be overtly protectionist and counter to the EU’s free trade ethos.
-A toughening of import duties to protect French manufacturers.
-Support, including tax breaks, to small and medium-sized business.
-Simplification of the tax code with an income tax ceiling of 46% for the highest earners, coupled with a decrease in employment tax.
-A reduction of VAT to 5.5 percent for essential goods, and an increase beyond the current percent nor non-essential luxury products.