French presidential candidate Le Pen pledges to replace euro in two years | News | DW | 02.05.2017
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French presidential candidate Le Pen pledges to replace euro in two years

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has renewed her vow to replace the euro with the French franc. Her comments come days after she toned down her anti-EU rhetoric to appeal to middle ground voters.

In an interview on Tuesday with the Reuters news agency, Le Pen said she hoped France would return to a national currency within two years of her taking office as president of France following Sunday's run-off vote.

The National Front-backed candidate also said she may use capital controls if there was a run on the banks due to her threat to pull France out of the European Union. But she stressed they were unlikely to be needed.

The far-right leader reaffirmed her plan to replace the euro, just four days after releasing a policy document that sought to appeal to centrist voters, saying that ditching the single currency was "not a prerequisite" to her plans to boost the French economy.

Reuters on Tuesday cited Le Pen as saying the euro would be replaced in favor of a national currency, but that a looser type of cooperation in the form of the ECU basket of currencies would also be reintroduced.

'Banking crisis unlikely'

Le Pen, who faces off against centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the second round run-off, accused the "establishment" of wanting to "frighten" voters over her economic plans.

"I am convinced there won't be any banking crisis," Le Pen said when asked if French negotiations to quit the EU could trigger a run on French banks.

She also told Reuters that immediately after winning, she would call for extensive EU reforms, such as border controls and stopping Brussels from imposing EU laws on France. If those negotiations weren't successful, Le Pen said, she would urge voters to support a Frexit, where France leaves the EU.

Le Pen was also asked what she would say to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at their first meeting.

"France will now stand up for the interests of France," she answered.

Bildkombo Wahlkampfplakate Frankreich

Ahead of Sunday's run-off election, the two candidates will face each other on Wednesday in a TV debate

Macron talks tough

Her rival, Macron, also promised a tough line with Brussels to soften the impact of globalization from countries like China and India. He told BFM-TV on Tuesday that he would seek to raise EU anti-dumping taxes to help protect French jobs.

"There is a feeling of rage, an incomprehension of the way things work, of a Europe that no longer protects and a globalization with too many losers," he told the news channel.

Macron is widely tipped to win Sunday's run-off, but to do so, he must win over supporters of losing candidates from the first round election.

Some within the centrist candidate's camp are concerned that many supporters of far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon will abstain or cast a blank ballot, instead of supporting Macron, the more left-wing candidate of the two.

On Wednesday, the two rivals will hold a televised debate ahead of Sunday's final vote.

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France: Macron vs. Le Pen

mm/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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