Finland election brings NEW threat to EU: The Brexit-backing Farage fan vying for Finexit

Will Kirbyt – January 27, 2018

Laura Huhtasaari, a 38-year-old former teacher, is trying to bring anti-immigration populist ideas back to mainstream Finnish politics and her campaign for the presidency has seen her reputation soar ahead of the first round of voting on Sunday.

Her Finns Party has employed tactics from a variety of populist politicians, echoing Donald Trump with her “Finland first” slogan and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who used nationalism as a key theme in her campaign.

Her eurosceptic rhetoric sounds a lot like that of former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, even telling of her admiration for the 53-year-old’s Brexit campaign as she told supporters to “take their country back”.

She said: “I look at Nigel Farage’s example. It took 17 years, but Brexit came.

“I don’t plan to wait that long.”

France’s mainstream breathes sigh of relief

DW – May 7, 2017

Centrist Emmanuel Macron was confirmed president-elect in line with opinion poll forecasts. But some voters in France were shaken by the unprecedented support shown for the far right, reports Erin Conroy in Paris.

Voters in Paris showed little surprise that former banker and technocrat Emmanuel Macron won France’s presidential election in a run-off vote Sunday against the far-right populist candidate, Marine Le Pen.

Still, many found it disconcerting that the Front National’s Le Pen was able to win about 35 percent of the vote – unprecedented support for the party, which has been making steady gains in local and national elections – even as the country’s mainstream parties on the right and left backed the independent centrist Macron. Le Pen’s share of the vote was nearly double that won by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in the 2002 election, the only other time that their party made it to the second round.

Macron-Le Pen heading to runoff in France

WND – April 23, 2017

French voters couldn’t be more divided on the major issues of the day, election results proved Sunday, as Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen were the top vote-getters in the presidential election that will send them to a runoff next month.

Should the fiery Le Pen win the runoff next month, it could spell the end of the European Union, the euro and turn the nation in a “France first” direction. Macron is considered more of a centrist who would continue most of the policies of the past.

With final votes being counted, Macron leads Le Pen with 23.8 percent of the vote to 21.6.

The projected outcome capped an extraordinary few months for a deeply divided France, which saw a campaign full of twists and turns and a movement away from traditional parties.

Germany repatriating gold faster than planned as confidence in euro plunges

RT – February 10, 2017

Berlin is bringing home its gold reserves stored in New York, London and Paris faster than scheduled, Germany’s central bank said Thursday. The move is linked to surging euroskepticism, as new governments in France and Italy may ditch the single currency.

The German Bundesbank has already moved 583 tons of gold out of New York and Paris, planning to have a half of its gold back in Germany by the end of 2017, which is ahead of the 2020 plan. The rest will be split between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Bank of England.

“We have a lot of discussions about Trump, regarding implications on monetary policy, macroeconomics, etc., but we trust the central bank of the US,” Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele told a news conference.

“Trump has not triggered a discussion about the storage facility in New York,” he said.

As French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and Italy’s 5-Star Movement are openly calling to pull out of the euro, some economists in Germany say the repatriated gold may be needed to back a new deutschmark should the eurozone collapse.

Eurosceptics Winning Elections to Have ‘Devastating’ Impact on EU Institutions

Sputnik News – February 8, 2017

The outcome of the upcoming elections in France and the Netherlands will largely determine the fate of the EU, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote.

According to the newspaper, the monetary union within the EU may disintegrate already in 2017. In particular, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, has repeatedly said that he was going to return the Dutch guilder as a national currency.

“Wilders views Brexit as an example to follow,” the newspaper wrote, adding that a similar course is being pursued by French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

Le Pen, who proposed to completely abandon the euro and introduce the French franc as a national currency, also called for the withdrawal of her country from the European Union.

“Six months after my election, I am going to organize a referendum on France’s withdrawal from the EU,” she told the Le Monde newspaper earlier.

Unique currency can destroy EU economy, countries must have chance to leave euro – Le Pen

RT – January 21, 2017

A unique currency is an instrument capable of destroying the EU economy, and countries should be able to leave the euro if they want, leader of the French National Front (FN) Marine Le Pen said at a gathering of Europe’s right-wing parties in Germany.

“I don’t say every country has to leave the euro… But we have to leave the possibility if a country wants to leave,” she said, and the audience welcomed the words with loud applause, according to Reuters. She added that a “unique currency” is an instrument “to destroy the economy.”

Speaking at a meeting in Koblenz, Germany described as an “EU counter-summit,” she predicted Brexit would trigger a domino effect.

“The key factor that is going to set in course all the dominoes of Europe is Brexit. A sovereign people chose… to decide its destiny itself,” Le Pen said.

“We are experiencing the end of one world and the birth of another. It’s a return to the nation states.”

According to Le Pen, 2017 will be “the year of the awakening of people of continental Europe.”

Populist Marine Le Pen Takes Lead in Polls as French Elections Approach

Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D. – January 19, 2017

A new poll finds that populist leader Marine Le Pen now leads France’s presidential race while the incumbent Socialist Party has plummeted in popularity.

Thursday’s poll, conducted by CEVIPOF (Centre de Recherche de Sciences Po) in partnership with the French daily Le Monde, shows Le Pen of the populist National Front (FN) with between 25 and 26 percent of the vote, while the Socialist Party’s Benoît Hamon and Arnaud Montebourg (PS) received only 7% of voting intentions.

The Socialists will be holding an open presidential primary on January 22, followed by a runoff election a week later to choose between the two candidates with the most votes. The presidential election itself will take place on April 23, with the possibility of a run-off election in May should no candidate obtain an absolute majority.

In second place behind Marine Le Pen is conservative François Fillon, who received between 23 and 25 percent of voter intentions. Through December Fillon enjoyed a comfortable lead in polls over Le Pen, but now their places have been reversed, Le Monde reported.

Dimon Says Euro Zone May Not Survive If Concerns Are Ignored

Hugh Son and Sonali Basak – January 18, 2017

The euro region could break up if political leaders don’t get to grips with the discontent that’s spurring support for populist leaders across the continent, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said.

Dimon said he had hoped European Union leaders would examine what caused the U.K. to vote to leave and then make changes. That hasn’t happened, and if nationalist politicians including France’s Marine Le Pen rise to power in elections across the region “the euro zone may not survive,” Dimon, 60, said in a Bloomberg Television interview with John Micklethwait.

“What went wrong is going wrong for everybody, not just going wrong for Britain, but in some ways it looks like they’re kind of doubling down,” Dimon said in the interview Wednesday at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Unless leaders address underlying concerns, “you’re going to have the same political things about immigration, the laws of the country, how much power goes to Brussels.”

Dimon’s remarks on Europe were unusually pessimistic, coming in a wide-ranging interview in which he also criticized regulations that he said stunt economic growth.

Germany’s Gabriel says EU break-up no longer unthinkable

Reuters   January 7, 2017

Germany’s insistence on austerity in the euro zone has left Europe more divided than ever and a break-up of the European Union is no longer inconceivable, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Der Spiegel magazine.

Gabriel, whose Social Democrats (SPD) are junior partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in her ruling grand coalition, said strenuous efforts by countries like France and Italy to reduce their fiscal deficits came with political risks.

“I once asked the chancellor, what would be more costly for Germany: for France to be allowed to have half a percentage point more deficit, or for Marine Le Pen to become president?” he said, referring to the leader of the far-right National Front.

“Until today, she still owes me an answer,” added Gabriel, whose SPD favors a greater focus on investment while Merkel’s conservatives put more emphasis on fiscal discipline as a foundation for economic prosperity.

The SPD is expected to choose Gabriel, their long-standing chairman who is also economy minister, to run against Merkel for chancellor in September’s federal election, senior party sources said on Thursday

Forecast for the Euro is Distinctly Cloudy as Le Pen Offers Return to the Franc

Sputnik News – January 5, 2017

On Wednesday the leader of France’s Front National party Marine Le Pen outlined her proposal for the return of the French franc, 15 years after it was phased out of use in favor of the Euro single currency.

Le Pen proposed using the European Currency Unit (ECU), a unit of account for EU member states based on a basket of their national currencies.

It was adopted in 1979 along with the European Monetary System (EMS) of closer monetary policy co-operation. The ECU was a reserve asset, for which EMS member states exchanged gold and dollars and used as a means of settlement. The EMS comprised a set of fixed currency exchange rate margins, calculated using the ECU and controlled through the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).

On January 1, 1999, the ECU was replaced as the electronic unit of account by the euro, which became legal tender three years later.