Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French right-wing National Rally party, said on Wednesday that in the event of victory in the presidential runoff, she would withdraw France from NATO’s integrated military command structure, but would still adhere to the alliance’s Article 5 mutual protection commitment.
“If elected president, I will leave the [NATO] Integrated Command but will not renounce Article 5 on mutual protection between members of the Atlantic Alliance,” Le Pen said during a briefing on foreign policy and diplomacy.
Le Pen also pledged to propose “a strategic rapprochement between NATO and Russia” as soon as the conflict in Ukraine is “resolved by a peace treaty,” as it serves not only French and EU interests but also benefits the United States.
Discussing the European Union, Le Pen noted that she wants to reform the bloc from within rather than conduct a “Frexit.” “I will repeat. This is not our project. We want to reform the European Union from the inside,” Le Pen said.
On Sunday, France held the first round of its presidential election. Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron received 27.84% of the vote and Le Pen 23.15%, which means they will face one another in a second-round on April 24.
Earlier, Marine Le Pen had promised to replace the European Union with a “European alliance of nations” if she won.
“We will reform the European Union and replace it with the European alliance of nations,” she said during a campaign rally in the northeastern city of Reims.
Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally and a staunch critic of the EU and NATO, said that her administration would work to raise France’s profile at the UN Security Council, where it is a core member.
She criticized the “logic of military blocs” and again promised to pull France from the NATO command structure to protect its national interest and avoid being dragged into other nations’ conflicts.
Le Pen had also blamed the European Union for adding fuel to the border tensions between Russia and Ukraine, in an interview with Polish daily Rzeczpospolita.
The Washington Post had predicted that Russia was amassing a large force on the Ukrainian border ahead of a multi-front offensive in early 2022.
“I don’t think Putin would make such a mistake. But I also believe that the EU has played the role of a firefighter-pyromaniac in this matter,” Le Pen told the Polish newspaper then.
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