Marine Le Pen’s Plot Against Europe

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from TIME Magazine,

The French politician won big in May’s European Union elections. Her next goal: dismantle the E.U. itself.

on the outskirts of Paris–headquarters for France’s far-right National Front party–Marine Le Pen elbows her way through a packed conference room, her blond hair bobbing above the television cameras.

An estimated 170 million Europeans have cast their ballots to send national representatives to the increasingly powerful European Parliament, and the results coming in are stunning.

The right-wing party has won 25% of French votes, relegating French President François Hollande’s ruling Socialists to a paltry third place. “The people have spoken,” declares Le Pen, 45, who took over the National Front in 2011 from her elderly father Jean-Marie (who was once fined for denying Nazi war crimes after calling the Holocaust “a mere detail”). “Tonight is a massive rejection of the European Union.” The next day, Le Pen tells TIME that Europe will never be the same again. In Britain, the anti-E.U. U.K. Independence Party, or UKIP, bested three established British parties. Far-right parties in Austria, Sweden and Denmark also won big. Anti-E.U. leftists won in Greece–and a Greek neo-Nazi, anti-E.U. party also did well. Even Germany, Europe’s richest nation, saw a far-right party win its first seat in the E.U. Parliament. The total number of so-called Euroskeptic members in the 751-member body has jumped from 99 to 175, with an estimated 122 of those from rightist parties and the rest from the far left, according to VoteWatch Europe, a monitoring organization in Brussels partly funded by the European Parliament. That means nearly 1 in 4 E.U. lawmakers will now be opposed to the organization that pays their salaries. “I believe this is the beginning of the end of the E.U.,” Le Pen says. “I don’t think the E.U. will be surviving in a few years.”

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