With the unprecedented victory of the Front National in the Frances European parliamentary elections winning 24.85% of the vote and a whopping one-out-of-three French seats, sending a cohort of 24 MEPs to Brussels/Strasbourg that will almost certainly lead a new faction of nationalist parties it is as important as ever to understand what makes French nationalists tick.
With that in mind, here is a 12-point summary of the Front Nationals policy program (as drawn from their media appearances and national/local manifestos). I write this post purely as a succinct guide to these nationalists stated positions, without getting into inevitably complicated and polemical questions of whether this or that position is opportunistic, ideological, sincere, realistic, desirable, contradictory or whatever. But I may write on that at a future date. The FNs main positions are:
- Overarching principles: National sovereignty and restoration of borders.
- A unique constitutional regime: President to be elected for a single non-renewable 7-year term, proportional representation in Parliament, mandatory referenda for all constitutional changes, creation of citizens initiative referenda, and reduced spending for and weakening of local government.
- Reversed macroeconomic policy mix: A combination of soft money (devaluation to regain competitiveness, direct lending of the Banque de France to the State) and balanced budgets (perhaps to be written into the Constitution).
- Nation-Statist trade policy: Rejection of neoliberalism; use of a national currency, intelligent protectionism and the strategic State to rearm France in the face of globalization.
- Maintenance of the French social model: Keep retirement age at 62, keep current industrial jobs and civil servants.
- No immigration: Reduce legal immigration 95% to 10,000 people annually, no amnesty or benefits for illegal immigrants or their children, abolition of jus soli, and citizenship only to be granted to foreigners children who are legally resident, speak French, are law-abiding and show proof of assimilation.
- Citizenism: All French citizens (regardless of race or religion) to enjoy the national priority in all areas, including education, access to jobs, welfare, public tenders, etc (unclear exactly how much non-citizens would be discriminated against). A ban on positive discrimination between citizens, no financing of communitarian (i.e. ethnic) NGOs, a constitutional amendment that communities not be recognized by the State, and firm enforcement of laïcité (French-style secularism).
- Tough on crime: Tougher sentencing, increase of prison capacity by 40,000 (over 50% increase), and increased surveillance against organized organized crime, drug cartels, terrorists and Islamists.
- Abolition of the EU: primacy of French law over EU law, secession from the eurozone, possibility of economic borders (e.g. import quotas in certain sectors), abolition of the Schengen Area of free movement of people, €0 net contribution to EU budget, nationalization of agricultural policy. The FN says it would support continued EU membership under these conditions, which is to say if there werent much of it left
- Limited European cooperation: Maintenance of multilateral projects (Galileo satellite system, ITER nuclear fusion reactor, Airbus, Ariane rockets, Erasmus student exchanges) and the creation of a free association of European States sharing the same vision and interests on subjects such as immigration or the rules governing foreign trade and the movement of capital, respecting national sovereignty and ideally including Russia.
- Neo-Gaullist Foreign Policy: Withdrawal from NATO, opposition to U.S. wars (Gulf War, Kosovo, War on Terror, Iraq, Libya… but they supported the intervention in Mali as in line with French interests), granting asylum to Edward Snowden, closer ties with non-Western powers, support for multipolarity, constitutional amendment setting defense spending at a minimum of 2% of GDP, promotion of a Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis and offering Russia an advanced strategic alliance, based on a deep military and energy partnership, rejection of wars of interference [ingérence], and support for international law.
- Moderate social conservatism: Ban on gay marriage, strengthening of civil unions (including gays), little on abortion or stem cell research, and strong natalist policies (more benefits to couples with children).
As a French-American, I cant help being struck at how often French and American nationalist movements have apparently largely independently (?) arrived at similar conclusions. While the FN is the most self-consciously ethnocentric of Frances major parties, the official position is one of a civic nationalism on some points very similar to Steve Sailers citizenism.
The FNs combination of social conservatism/toughness on crime and Hamiltonian Statism/left-wing economic elements resembles something of a blend of Pat Buchanans paleoconservatism and Michael Linds liberal nationalism. I find this rather ironic given the history of French-American rivalry and how often French and Americans (including and especially mainstream politicians) have seen each other as a demonic Other (e.g. socialist cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys or ultraliberal cowboy warmongers).