France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine le Pen will look to take the country out of the single currency area in six months, setting out a radical economic vision for the eurozone’s second largest economy should she be elected in May.
Jean Messiha, an adviser to Ms Le Pen, has fleshed out the eurosceptic party’s promises to pursue a “Frexit”, claiming the French state would redenominate its more than €2tn outstanding debt into a new franc and “guarantee” companies will still have access to the debt markets to help smooth the transition out of the euro.
Ms Le Pen has long promised to restore monetary sovereignty to France, railing against the EU’s debt rules and prohibitions on government spending. Her advisor’s comments flesh out the FN’s plans which could include holding a referendum on eurozone membership and central-bank financed government spending.
In an interview with Reuters, Mr Messiha said the party’s “preferred scenario would be to agree jointly on the dismantling of the eurozone”.
If Brussels does not cooperate, the FN would hold a referendum on a unilateral exit from the single currency area – the first in the bloc’s 18-year history, he said, adding:
The FN’s program explicitly foresees re-establishing the possibility for the French state to refinance itself at the Banque de France.
Earlier this month, Ms Le Pen said she favoured a return to the “Ecu” – a pre-eurozone currency regime where member states would return to their national currencies but retain the euro as a common accounting currency.
Her tough stance on the eurozone is in contrast to her main rivals for the French presidency. Emmanuel Macron, a centre-left independent candidate who served as economy minister, is in favour of pooling more fiscal sovereignty to Brussels, and creating a eurozone-wide treasury and finance minister.
Ms Le Pen’s right-wing rival Francois Fillon has vowed to unleash a wave of Thatcherite reforms in the country and stay in the single currency area.
Despite the FN’s calls for a “Frexit”, latest polling shows the eurozone enjoys record popularity, with 70 per cent approval ratings.
Presidential polling meanwhile suggests Ms Le Pen will contest the final round presidential run off in early May but could lose out to either Mr Macron or Mr Fillon in a closely-fought final round vote.
Bookmaker Betfair has placed Mr Macron as the 6/4 odds-on favourite for the presidency.
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