17th Mar 2018

French far right at 'gates of power'

  • Paris: Valls warned about the rise of the French far-right (Photo: Paul S.)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Sunday (7 September) warned that the far-right is “at the gates of power”, as the ruling left struggles under its unpopular president, Francois Hollande.

"In France, the extreme right of Marine Le Pen is at the gates of power,” he said, speaking at an annual gathering of fellow left-wing politicians in Bologna, Italy.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The warning followed an IFOP opinion poll over the weekend, which suggests Marine Le Pen would beat all her rivals by winning the first round of a presidential election.

It also comes on the heels of an unflattering memoir by Hollande’s former partner Valerie Trierweiler, who describes the 60-year old French president as an opportunist and as someone who spurns the poor.

But under Le Pen the weakest would be the first to suffer, said Valls, “and it will also be a terrible, perhaps fatal, blow to Europe".

Countering the far-right momentum across Europe requires socialist governments and politicians to act and speak differently “in order to be listened to and to be heard,” he said.

Although Le Pen failed to muster enough MEPs to create her own far-right faction in the European Parliament, her precipitous rise in France over the past year has shocked many on the left.

Le Pen’s support base has increased, in part, due to France’s stagnating economy, high unemployment, immigration issues, and a general feeling of discontentment with the ruling government.

The EU's second largest economy registered zero growth in the first six months of this year. And as of July, the number of people seeking work in France rose to a new record at over 3.4 million.

Meanwhile in the port city of Calais, a far-right rally on Sunday demanded stranded migrants seeking better lives in the UK be deported.

In a bid to tackle the failing economy, Hollande authorised Valls earlier this month to present a “general policy statement” or new work programme to the parliament, which is set to hold a vote of confidence next week.

The new work programme includes a so-called Responsibility Pact that offers tax breaks to businesses in exchange for jobs. It also calls for cuts in public spending.

Valls said he was sure the majority in the parliament would support the new programme.

"There can be no other way. If the majority isn't there on that occasion, it would be finished," he told French media in August following a cabinet reshuffle.

Hollande at the time appointed a 36-year-old ex-Rothschild banker as economy minister in an emergency reshuffle in what has been described as a last ditch effort under his presidency to reverse the country’s fortunes.

He made the move after two of his ministers quit in protest against austerity cuts.


The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere