sábado, 4 de fevereiro de 2017
Marine Le Pen’s plan to make France great again
Marine Le Pen’s plan to make France great again
French far-right leader unveiled her 144-point presidential plan in Lyon.
By NICHOLAS VINOCUR 2/4/17, 7:30 PM CET Updated 2/4/17, 7:40 PM CET
LYON — Marine Le Pen’s presidential rocket ship is ready for lift-off.
On Saturday, the French far-right leader unveiled a 144-point plan to yank her country out of the EU, tax the hiring of foreign workers and use “intelligent protectionism” to shield firms from globalization.
While much of the National Front party’s platform was already known, language in Le Pen’s “144 presidential commitments” was broadly updated to make it smoother and less jarring.
Le Pen no longer speaks of “exiting the euro zone” but of “restoring the national currency.” She no longer wants to force companies to hire French workers via a policy of “national preference,” but one based on the softer-sounding “national priority.”
Also gone from the National Front’s playbook is a longstanding demand to reinstate the death penalty, which was abolished in France in 1981. Now, Le Pen wants to impose a prison sentence “in perpetuity” for the “worst crimes,” beefing up an existing legal measure.
There is plenty missing from the 22-page program. In particular, it does not offer much new detail on what sort of demands Le Pen would make of the European Union as part of a planned renegotiation of the terms of French membership. In addition, the candidate stops short of explaining exactly what would happen if France voted to leave the EU, making no mention of plans to maintain the euro alongside a restored “franc” currency.
This vagueness is deliberate, said one Front official.
By fleshing out proposals on subjects ranging from healthcare to the environment, the Front wants first and foremost wants to prove its “competence” and overcome a reputation for amateurishness, said Guy Deballe, a former socialist party member and recent Front convert.
Le Pen also wants to retain as much wiggle room as possible on the most sensitive issues — notably what to do about the euro.
“The main thing here is to show that the party is working, that we have the expertise and the analytical capacity to rise to the challenges facing France,” Deballe said. “What Marine is proposing mainly is a method … On the specific details of certain proposals, she will adapt her actions according to circumstance.”
On the whole, he added, the plan was designed to “rebuild France” and “restore the country’s greatness.”
Was such language inspired by U.S. President Donald Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again”?
“The situations of our two countries are analogous,” Deballe said. “We are totally attacked by finance and multinational companies. We both need to restore control and re-empower the people — to restore our greatness, if you will.”
“So yes, there are definitely a lot of parallels, even though the solutions will of course be different.”
Here are a few (non-exhaustive) highlights from Le Pen’s plan:
On leaving the EU
Le Pen’s plan calls for “leaving the Schengen free travel zone” in order to “restore our freedom and control over our destiny by giving the French people back their sovereignty.”
Negotiations with the EU are to be followed by a referendum on membership, the plan says, with the aim of “arriving at a European project that is respectful of France’s independence, of national sovereignty and which serves the interests of the people.”
However, there is no mention of how Le Pen plans to restore the franc after a hypothetical exit from the bloc.
On French power
Le Pen wants to pull France out of the North Atlantic Treaty’s integrated command structure so that Paris is “not dragged into wars that are not hers.” She also wants to raise the national defense budget to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), in order to build a new aircraft carrier, hire 50,000 new military personnel and progressively reintroduce compulsory military service, starting with a 3-month commitment.
On ‘intelligent protectionism’
Le Pen details various measures to protect French firms from foreign competition, often in direct contradiction with EU rules. She wants to “free” French firms from “European constraints” and force the state to order from French companies. Foreign investment would be strictly controlled, via an “Economic Security Agency.”
On taxing foreign workers
France would stop respecting Europe’s directive on detached workers, while imposing “an additional tax on the hiring of foreign workers” — one of the few totally new proposals in the Front’s playbook, likely inspired by discussion of similar measures in Britain.
President Le Pen would slash the number of people entering France to 10,000 annually, down from about ten times that number currently. She would also abolish the principle of allowing immigrants to bring in family members and force asylum seekers to apply only from their home country. Most radically, she wants to end birthright access to nationality, replacing it with a hereditary principle.
On welfare and the domestic economy
Le Pen proposes a blend of liberal measures for small companies mixed with heavy investment in the public sector, which already accounts for about 57 percent of GDP. Small and medium sized companies would get a major tax break and “significantly reduced” bureaucratic complexity, the plan says.
On the other hand, Le Pen would repeal a recently enacted reform to loosen hiring and firing rules, would maintain the 35-hour work week, beef up the social security system and increase staff in public hospitals.
On ‘national identity’
If Le Pen is elected president, she will demand that all public buildings fly the French flag at all times, while banning the European Union’s flag. The constitution would be rewritten to include the notion of “national priority” in all areas, notably via defense of the French language and teaching of the “national novel” in schools.
To defend French culture, she also proposes a ban on sales of national monuments and heritage sites to foreign buyers.