France’s Le Pen sets out presidential election manifesto
Le Pen recommends leaving the EU if it does not manage to radically change the bloc
France’s far-right National Front detailed 144 proposals for party leader Marine Le Pen’s election bid, including leaving the euro and a vote on European Union membership.
The anti-immigration party’s manifesto for the April and May presidential election is short on macro-economic details and gives no public finance targets, except for an increase in defence and research spending.
Here are the main proposals from the manifesto:
Six months to renegotiate the EU or go for “Frexit”
* Election to be immediately followed by six months of talks with EU partners with the aim to radically change France’s membership and turn the bloc into a loose cooperative of countries: no more euro, border-free area, EU budget rules or pre-eminence of EU law.
* Referendum on EU membership at the end of the 6 months. Le Pen to recommend leaving if does not manage to radically change the bloc. Most likely scenario is therefore “Frexit.”
Leave the Euro
* The manifesto gives no details but a top FN official said would go together with: re-denominating the debt stock in the new currency, having the central bank defend that new currency and giving the government the right to order the central bank to buy its bonds.
* Would be accompanied by some form of loose monetary cooperation which could for instance manage exchange rate fluctuations.
* Public procurement to be open only to French firms as long as the price difference is not too big.
* “Intelligent protectionism”: Le Pen’s adviser Jean Messiha told Reuters the FN wants to force retailers to hold a certain percentage of French goods on their shelves.
* To rebuild France’s industrial base, sellers of imported goods would not be allowed to pass on all of the value-added sales tax to consumers as they do now, Messiha said.
* Reject international trade treaties
Lower taxes, better welfare
* 10 percent cut to income tax on three lowest revenue bands
* Cut payroll tax for very small and medium-sized businesses and lower the corporate tax rate for SMEs.
* Lower retirement age to 60 from the current 62, increase aids to the poorest of the elderly. Give child benefits to all without conditions of resources. Cut by 5 percent the regulated price of gas and electricity.
* Allow each parent to give each of their children 100,000 euros tax-free every five years.
* Keep the working week to 35 hours, make overtime tax-free.
* Reserving certain rights now available to all residents, including free education, to French citizens only, which would be put to voters via referendum.
* Employers who hire foreigners to pay a tax worth 10 percent of the salary paid to those people, Le Pen’s deputy Florian Philippot said.
* Hire 15,000 police, build jails to make room for another 40,000 inmates.
* Automatically expel foreigners who have been condemned in court. Also expel all foreigners that are monitored by intelligence services for links with radical Islam. Close all mosques suspected of links with radical Islam.
* Leave NATO’s integrated command, boost defense spending.
* Make it impossible for undocumented migrants to legalise their stay in France.
* Curb asylum to requests made abroad, in French consulates.
* Make it much harder to become a French citizen -- being born in France would give no right to citizenship anymore.
* Curb migration to a net 10,000 people per year.
* Stop giving free basic healthcare to illegal migrants.
* Allow referendums to be organized on issues called for by 500,000 citizens.
* Cut the number of lawmakers by nearly half.