Marine Le Pen: “I always think about the best interest of France and the French people”

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front in France, is facing off against the “centrist” Emmanuel Macron in Sunday’s run-off for the presidential election. Below is an interview Ms. Le Pen gave recently on French television.

Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   Another candidate who joins us — Marine Le Pen.
00:04   She is 48 years old.
00:08   She is a member of the European Parliament; she is the president of National Front.
00:12   It’s her second presidential election. Her slogan:
00:16   “Make France great again”. Good evening, Marine Le Pen.
00:20   Thank you for being with us. First question, as for every other candidate:
00:24   What object would you put in your office in the Elysée
00:28   if you are elected that would represent something
00:32   iconic for you or your mission? —Voilà!
00:36   It’s a CEO from Moselle, who symbolically
00:40   gave me the key to his business. And
00:44   this proof of trust was for me a truly emotional moment.
00:48   So I find this key symbolic, and it so happens that I want to give to the French people
00:52   the keys to the “French home”. So I am indeed going to take it with me.
00:56   And I will put it on my desk in the Elysée if the French people
01:00   give me their vote of confidence. — Two economic specifics: first, leaving the euro.
01:04   If the French people follow you, and confirm it in a referendum; we will return to the franc under
01:08   the presidency of Marine Le Pen; and it will of course be devalued, —What do you say to
01:13   the French people, and especially to retired people, who accumulated a little savings, and who
01:16   fear that between 15-20% of their money would melt? —First of all, this is false.
01:24   I would like to go back to — it’s an agreement I signed with the French people —
01:28   I am planning to engage in serious negotiations to give them back their sovereignty;
01:32   concerning four essential elements, I said: Control of the borders, because the French people
01:36   have the right to decide who enters their country; control over their law,
01:40   because it’s the foundation of democracy; control over their economy, to be able to
01:45   practise economic patriotism, which today is forbidden by the EU,
01:49   protectionism, which today is forbidden by the EU; and regain control
01:53   over their currency. French people saw the currency, the euro,
01:57   for example, change value in a spectacular way.
02:01   Nobody realized it, for a simple reason: because it has no influence on
02:05   their savings. Voilà. So this is a part of one of the lies that are being
02:09   spread in the framework of what is called “Project Fear”, which is about trying
02:13   to make the French people panic. In reality, in order to not give them the choice
02:17   of defending themselves. Because the return to a national currency
02:21   is the return to a possibility of having a currency which is
02:25   in balance with our economy, therefore allowing us to be much more competitive:
02:29   So, to go on to the conquest of the world! So, to be able to export!
02:33   So, to be able to create jobs, because I refuse to submit to
02:37   the fatalism that is expressed by all
02:41   of our political leaders, who insist on saying: “Well, yes there’s massive unemployment, but nothing
02:45   can be done about it.” Well, I’m here to tell the French people: of course things can be done!
02:49   But to do those things, we need to reclaim the freedom to do them.
02:53   Many are today forbidden by the EU. —But to devalue our currency means also that we’ll pay
02:58   15-20% more for all that we are importing, Marine Le Pen! That means we pay more for our oil,
03:01   more for our coffee, for our rubber,
03:05   and it also means the return of the franc. —Madame, I will not go into
03:09   this type of argument with you again; just to tell you about the oil, for example:
03:13   let’s take that example: in reality 80% of the price of gas is the taxes
03:17   Taken by the State. See? So the raw material
03:21   compared to the price at the pump is only 20%! So let’s imagine
03:26   that our currency loses, for example, 7% of its value,
03:30   that’s what was announced today in a study.
03:34   Well, the consequences would be completely derisory; however, however,
03:38   however we are going to… —Our phones our [unintelligible] —Abandon this type of idea!
03:42   The [recent] euro was worth 1.55 euros three years ago.
03:46   It is worth 0.80 euros today. —We are doing business essentially in the zone of…
03:50   …have, have the phones become more expensive, has their price doubled? No! Stop it!
03:54   Stop this type of Project Fear! It’s not working any longer. It was used for
03:58   Brexit, it was used for the election of Donald Trump; it’s doesn’t work any more.
04:02   There are countless advantages to having a national currency, because
04:06   I don’t have an ideological vision. I have a vision
04:10   that is pragmatic. I want to find a way of
04:14   creating jobs again. And for that, to find competiveness,
04:18   there are three ways, Madame Salamé: lower wages,
04:22   lower social security or have a currency adapted to our economy. No way will
04:26   I lower the wages; no way will I destroy social security.
04:30   Therefore there’s only one solution,
04:35   not only simple to put in practice,
04:39   but which, above all, won’t bully the French people.
04:43   You want to stop the job immigration due to — as you say —
04:47   the high unemployment rate in France. But you saw this study about employment yesterday
04:51   about 200,000 jobs remain unfilled in France. Many more
04:55   are taken by foreigners; French people don’t wish to take them. Does it mean
04:59   that in your project you would incite or force
05:03   French people to take those jobs that they aren’t taking today? —Monsieur…
05:07   I am again forced to contest your analysis, voilà.
05:11   Which is an analysis by MEDEF [employer federation] and of the entirety of our elites,
05:15   which consists once again of guilt-tripping the French people.
05:18   Not at all —Oh, yes, it’s always their fault: they’re the ones
05:21   who don’t want to work, who are lazy… —It’s an objective fact —lazy, they’re the ones
05:24   who care too much about their health, so they’re responsible for the social security gap…
05:27   Are there jobs available? —… they are the ones who don’t work enough, so they’re responsible for
05:30   deficit in the pension fund. All that is false! I tell French people: Don’t let them
05:33   guilt-trip you! —Are there no open jobs today in France?
05:36   —There are as many available jobs, Monsieur Pujadas, as when we were
05:39   fully employed. Voilà; because there’s a turnover which is traditional
05:43   between them, the jobs they left, and the jobs that we find again. This is the reality
05:47   of the numbers. So again, you need to stop
05:51   this systematic guilt-tripping of the French people.
05:55   All right. It’s time for our carte blanche, Marine Le Pen
06:00   What carte blanche you have you chosen? Which point you would like to reiterate?
06:04   It’s security and terrorism. Because this was totally
06:08   absent during the campaign. So I understand that those who govern us
06:12   perhaps have the feeling of responsibility
06:16   for the results in the area of security and of terrorism; but
06:20   The fact that this subject was totally absent, all while it is so serious
06:24   for the well-being and serenity of the French people,
06:28   seems astounding to me! I think that nothing was done.
06:32   I think that on the one hand concerning insecurity — I was going to call it “classical” —
06:36   well, we are experiencing the consequences of a laxity that hasn’t stopped for years,
06:40   and which has to be stopped
06:44   by introducing mandatory sentencing, by building more prisons,
06:48   by putting in place — for more serious crimes — real, non-reducible life sentences,
06:52   by suppressing an automatic pardon; I want
06:56   the victims to be respected again, and the thugs to stop
07:00   having a sense of impunity. Regarding terrorism, which really
07:04   is a major subject, which nobody touched,
07:08   except for the last three days, because it was it was re-introduced in the campaign.
07:12   Well, there again nothing was done.
07:16   We have to control our national borders. It’s essential,
07:20   in order to know who enters our country,
07:24   put into practice the re-organization of intelligence. We have to… —I’m sorry; the borders
07:29   have been re-established, since…— no, they aren’t re-established, M. Pujadas — the agreements
07:32   were suspended… of Schengen. —No, Monsieur Pujadas, they aren’t re-established, it’s not true
07:36   and all the French who cross the border everyday could tell you that. We need to
07:41   once again put together the resources for the police and the gendarmes, meaning to create
07:45   15,000 jobs for gendarmes and police.
07:49   We need to recreate jobs for customs officers, and then we need to
07:53   address the root cause of the evil. Because terrorism is the weapon in the hands of
07:57   Islamic fundamentalism, which is a totalitarian ideology. And nothing was done there, either.
08:01   We need to address the communitarism [ghettoization and parallel societies of the banlieues];
08:05   we need to address the development of this Islamist fundamentalism in our
08:09   banlieues, financed by foreign countries,
08:13   address the retreat of secularism; we need to close radical mosques;
08:17   we need to deport imams who preach hate. —How can you, Madame Le Pen,
08:21   …deport the entirety of the foreign S-files [known radicals]. —About that, Marine Le Pen:
08:25   you say, “Deport the S-files”, but the S-file is a tool
08:29   of intelligence, and as we can see in many recent cases, it’s the surveillance
08:33   of a S-file [person] that enabled the dismantling of a network
08:38   and prevented an attack. Wouldn’t we be depriving ourselves of a tool
08:42   of information and of surveillance in the deportation of all those S-files? —Monsieur Pujadas,
08:46   there are, I think, 17,000 S-files in our country, of which 10,000 are for
08:50   connections with fundamentalist Islamism. Explain to me, give me one reason
08:54   why we would take the risk of keeping on our territory people
08:58   who have links with Islamist fundamentalists and who are foreign. —To dismantle networks
09:02   Oh, so we’ll keep them… —…as already happened not long ago!
09:06   This makes no sense, Monsieur Pujadas. I’m telling you clearly and simply:
09:10   All the foreign S-files, meaning all the foreigners on our
09:14   territory who have ANY link with
09:18   Islamist fundamentalism, must be deported from our country!
09:22   This will allow us to have fewer S-files to monitor, and it will greatly facilitate
09:26   the work of our police and intelligence. One more time:
09:30   why keep potential time bombs on our territory?! We don’t have
09:34   any reason to do it, other than to endanger the French people,
09:38   and I for one I would be
09:42   totally tough in this sphere, because I am like many French: I am a mother,
09:46   I have three children, and I don’t want, every time they tell me that they have
09:50   errands to run at La Défense [a major business district in Paris] to have stomach cramps
09:54   while telling myself that they’ll either be assaulted or that they risk
09:58   becoming victims of future attacks. I don’t want it and I don’t want … —Madame Le Pen…
10:02   — and I don’t want French mothers and fathers to live with those stomach cramps. —Marine Le Pen,
10:06   you declared two days ago: “there wouldn’t have been Mohamed Merah and the terrorists of Bataclan
10:10   with me.” How can you be sure of that? —Well, Madame, because all the measures
10:14   that I’ll put in place will make sure that all those people, considering their profile,
10:18   would be either deported or imprisoned.
10:22   But when you see that even Vladimir Putin, who is being tough
10:27   with the terrorists, couldn’t prevent the attacks in St Petersburg… —Madame Salamé
10:31   I said it in the same speech: THERE IS NO zero risk.
10:35   But it is a SCANDAL to leave the risk at 100%.
10:39   Because there is no zero risk, of course
10:43   but one cannot —while there is pain and injury —
10:47   and the shame of not having done all that was necessary
10:51   to prevent it. Now— I’ll give you one example —
10:55   the terrorist in Nice was a foreigner
10:59   who was sentenced for a common offense.
11:03   He wasn’t an S-file —Let me finish my sentence; well, all the foreigners
11:07   who are sentenced for offences or crimes have to go home.
11:11   For a simple reason, Madame Salamé, because they have broken
11:15   at least two laws: the penal law for which they were sentenced and the law of hospitality.
11:19   For no matter what offense, a foreigner, no matter what offense? —But Madame,
11:23   you come to a country. —For a theft? —I’m sorry, but could we, please, bring back a minimum of
11:27   basic values in our country? Do you arrive in a country
11:31   to commit an offense? Because if you arrive there to commit an offense, well,
11:35   this country has every right to send you home,
11:39   and even, let me tell you, perhaps even forbid you ever to come back!
11:43   Mohammed Merah was French. —Mohammed Merah was French by the right of the soil.
11:47   And at 18 years of age he was a repeat offender. I want the suppression
11:51   of the right of the soil. I think that French nationality is inherited or deserved.
11:55   At 18 years, when a young foreigner is asking for French citizenship,
11:59   well, we look into a number of criteria, and a criminal record is one of them.
12:03   I don’t see a single good reason to give French citizenship
12:07   to someone who committed several offenses, again:
12:12   on our territory. —Two international questions: we have an agreement
12:16   with Turkey to contain the arrival of the migrants
12:20   on the European soil. Should we keep this agreement?
12:24   Which strongly contained them, in fact, which was very efficient
12:29   for more than eighteen months… —But not at all, Monsieur Pujadas; we have NO agreement
12:33   with Turkey! —We have an agreement… —No, it’s Madame Merkel. We have no agreement with Turkey.
12:36   It’s Mme Merkel who went to sign an agreement with Monsieur Erdogan, without asking
12:40   anybody’s opinion; least of all ours; I really —With the consent of François Hollande.
12:44   I really have a hard time withstanding the multiplication
12:48   of humiliations which our country is being subjected to, especially,
12:52   it has to be said, from Madame Merkel. In doing that, Madame Merkel
12:56   allowed Monsieur Erdogan to have, to exercise
13:00   true blackmail against our country, since the counterpart is the billions
13:04   that Monsieur Erdogan demanded. And today Monsieur Erdogan
13:08   is threatening every week to break this agreement and to allow
13:12   a true migratory flood into Europe if we don’t give him
13:16   this or that, if we criticize him, and so on. —Would you break this agreement?
13:20   You should never, never put yourself, when you are an independent and sovereign country,
13:24   into the conditions where you can be a victim of blackmail.
13:28   In doing this Madame Merkel committed, I think, a serious political mistake;
13:32   and by accepting this from Mme Merkel, Monsieur Hollande committed
13:36   an even more serious one. —And if he opens the borders, if he opens the borders, Mme Le Pen?
13:40   But, Madame, this is the reason I want us to have national borders.
13:44   Our borders, which we control. I have no confidence in the sieve of Schengen;
13:48   not Schengen one, two or three, and nothing like that,
13:53   and I am announcing, by the way, that Italy
13:57   just admitted that they received
14:01   60% more migrants than during the same period last year.
14:05   That means that the migration wave isn’t behind us, but before us.
14:09   And I tell the French:
14:13   Let’s take back the control of our borders, because otherwise
14:17   we won’t be able to stop that migratory wave that has
14:21   very heavy consequences for our economy, our social security, but also, of course,
14:25   on our security and our unity! —Marine Le Pen, were you happy about the election of Donald Trump?
14:29   You were one of few politicians to speak of good news in November, 2016.
14:33   When he struck Bashar al Assad’s army two weeks ago, were you disappointed?
14:37   Yes. In any case it contradicted the commitments he made; he said
14:41   clearly: I want to be the president of the United States. I don’t want to be
14:45   president of the world. And I won’t lead another American administration
14:49   that interferes, and of that we saw consequences.
14:53   Because those interferences had negative consequence. And I think for France as well,
14:57   because I always think about France. Every time when I ask myself what decision
15:01   I have to take, I always think about the best interest of France and the French people.
15:05   I see the consequences of the intervention in Iraq. The least we can say is that it created
15:09   chaos and strengthened Islamic fundamentalism. I saw the consequences
15:13   in Libya. The least one can say is that it permitted
15:17   to install in power Islamist fundamentalists. So he took a decision that was contrary to those
15:21   commitments, I take note, voilà, what do you want? —What would you tell him if you were president
15:25   of the Republic? —Well, I’d tell him exactly the same thing.
15:29   We will see what will happen in the future, but I hope that
15:33   it won’t be the usual American policy again, because of the risk,
15:37   yet again, of strengthening what represents one of the biggest dangers
15:42   for our country today, meaning the development
15:46   of this radical Islam that comes to strike
15:50   even in our own territory, sometimes using, incidentally,
15:54   waves of migrants, as was the case with the Stockholm terrorist.
15:58   Two more words, a little more personal. First, a question about your past:
16:02   We found this picture where you are a young lawyer…
16:06   Thank you for reminding me that I used to be young — It was
16:10   25 years ago, If I’m not mistaken. It was your first life… —I saw it… —Your first career.
16:14   Do you miss the life of a lawyer, this career, this profession?
16:18   There are sixty-five million French people who expect to get a very good lawyer.
16:22   So, somewhere, have I really changed my career?
16:26   I am not so sure. I spend all my days defending
16:30   Them, and it always satisfies me.
16:34   Last question, the same for everybody. Do you have a regret
16:38   at the end of this campaign, a word you said, which you regret, something you did
16:42   that you regret? —No, no I have absolutely no regrets.
16:46   I ran a beautiful campaign. Perhaps the regret of not having
16:50   more of those meetings that I attended in very small towns,
16:54   some having 800 inhabitants or 2,000 inhabitants.
16:58   To meet this France that feels abandoned, that
17:02   endures the consequences of desertification. And that, in my opinion,
17:06   is off the radar of the political elites; well, I found
17:10   there an incredible fervor, and a dynamism.
17:14   So I also want to fight for this French countryside, this rural France,
17:18   which is often absent from the concerns of our political leaders.
17:22   Don’t you regret putting a little
17:26   too much in the center of your campaign the abandonment of the euro?
17:30   No, I never regret telling the French people the truth. And especially when I tell them:
17:35   At the end of this negotiation, it will be YOU who decide: by the way of a referendum.
17:39   I will never do anything, I will never commit France to such an important choice
17:43   as this one, without having YOUR opinion YOUR consent.
17:47   I won’t do anything, and I commit to this promise. I won’t do anything
17:51   WITHOUT the French people, or AGAINST them. My campaign
17:55   is in the name of the people that I fought it for, and my term in office will be in the name
17:59   of the people as well. —Thank you Marine Le Pen.