France election: Le Pen and Macron clash over Europe in TV debate

France election: Le Pen and Macron clash over Europe in TV debate

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen was attacked from all sides over Europe as presidential candidates went head to head in the second live TV debate.

The centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron said Ms Le Pen's nationalist proposals amounted to "economic warfare".

But she was also accused from the right of not being tough enough on France's membership of the EU.

Francois Fillon, meanwhile, said that France needed Europe when up against the US and China.

Ms Le Pen, leader of the National Front (FN) party, promised to restore control of France's borders and scrap the euro, or else hold a referendum on EU membership.


Speaking alongside 10 other candidates as things got a little heated in the second of three televised French presidential election debates, she said that her presidency would improve the lives of French citizens.

Mr Macron, the frontrunner, accused Ms Le Pen of lying, and said that "nationalism is war".

"You are saying the same lies that we've heard from your father for 40 years," he said.

Ms Le Pen, who also came under attack from conservative candidate Mr Fillon, retorted: "You shouldn't pretend to be something new when you are speaking like fossils that are at least 50 years old."

Meanwhile, nationalist right-wing outsider Francois Asselineau said that he was "the only true candidate of Frexit", and promised to trigger Article 50 - the process to start the country's divorce from the EU - immediately if he were to win power.

France election: Le Pen and Macron clash over Europe in TV debate

Turning the topic to security, Ms Le Pen said that France had become a "university for jihadists", prompting angry interruptions from the left-wing candidates.

Most polls suggest that Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron will face each other in the two-candidate run-off for presidency on 7 May.

However, Tuesday's debate gave Mr Fillon, 63, an opportunity to close the gap on the leaders.

Mr Fillon was the frontrunner in the campaign until he was hit by the "fake jobs" scandal and placed under formal investigation. He is accused of paying hundreds of thousands of euros to his family for work they did not do.

He was trailing third in the first round, according to polls, a position which would eliminate him from the race.



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