The European Union far from the concerns of the far right

By Agathe Beaudouin

Posted today at 2:13 p.m.

Purchasing power, insecurity and immigration: that’s it, if we are to believe the militants of the National Rally (RN) and Reconquest! in the Gard, the winning trio concerns the voters they meet on the ground. Whether they ride for Marine Le Pen or for Eric Zemmour, Patrick Parfum, Anthony Leroy or even Guetari Houda agree: euro, European Union (EU), “Frexit” (France’s exit from the EU) or even Schengen do not belong to the vocabulary of their encounters with the population at the gates of the Camargue. “In truth, people are not interested in this theme”, says Patrick Parfum, a member of the Le Pen family party for over thirty years.

Patrick Parfum, activist of the National Rally, Saturday April 2, 2022, in Aigues-Mortes in the Gard.

Very present during the 2017 presidential election in the program of what was still the National Front (which became the National Rally in 2018), the European question was erased from this 2022 campaign. The word does not appear once on the leaflet distributed to passers-by. The candidate and her supporters, who, five years earlier, were campaigning for a break with the EU, no longer mention this famous Frexit and take as many precautions on the question of European treaties, as if they had never been eurosceptics. A real balancing act!

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“Debate outdated”

Nicolas Meizonnet, RN deputy at party premises, April 2, 2022 in Vauvert (Gard).

“At the time, it made sense, this proposal”, defends Nicolas Meizonnet, RN deputy for the second district of Gard, crossed on the market, and who admits: “This question is not my specialty. » He justifies the recent conversion of its president to Europe: “Let’s rather say that today, after the 2019 European elections, we believe that it is possible and necessary to reform the European Union from the inside, in depth. We will always act for a Europe of free and sovereign nations. »

Exit the Frexit, activists from far-right parties are now talking about “a Europe where Europeans can circulate”, “a restoration of European borders”, argues Patrick Parfum, who walks, leaflets in hand, the markets of Grau-du-Roi and Aigues-Mortes (Gard), two towns bordering the Mediterranean, and where his party was ten points ahead of Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the presidential election in 2017 (about 53%). He has in mind that “everything we heard at this unfortunate debate between the two rounds, in 2017, is outdated”. On the euro, for example? “There is no question of leaving the European currency! », he repeats, when necessary ” to reassure “ his interlocutors. “We will remain Europeans, with improvements to be made”, summarizes the one who believes in the victory of Marine Le Pen on April 24.

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