EMMANUEL Macron has accused election rival Marine Le Pen of hatching a secret plan to pull France out of the EU.
The French President poured showdown this month as a Brexit-style referendum on his country’s membership.
His comments come with polls showing a playoff between the two will be much closer than it was five years ago.
Today on a campaign visit Ms. LePen refused to rule out a public vote on France leaving the bloc.
She said: “The French can reassess their presence in the international organizations of their choice.
“In the case of a referendum that goes against the fundamental interests of the country, the President and the National Assembly can object to it.
“But that’s not the case if you leave the EU.”
The far-right candidate has previously advocated a “frexit” and said France should dump the euro.
But she dropped that policy during this campaign to present a softer image to French voters.
Instead, she has promised to work with other Eurosceptics to change the project from within.
Ms. Le Pen wants to tear up the EU’s border-free Schengen area and reintroduce border controls.
She has also vowed to pull out of the bloc’s electricity market and take agriculture out of future trade deals.
Critics say her pledges put France on such a collision course with Brussels that they amount to a stealthy Frexit.
Mr. Macron claims that “she wants to leave but dares not say so” and accused her of talking “nonsense” about the EU.
At a rally in Strasbourg, he said: “She says she wants an alliance of nation states.
“But she will find herself in a corner trying to bond with her friends.
“The EU has changed the life of this country. This election is a referendum on Europe.”
Michel Barnier, the bloc’s former Brexit negotiator, has done so before warned France not to follow Britain off the bloc.
CLOSING THE COMPETITION
Mr Macron won 27.8% of the vote in Sunday’s first round of voting, with Ms Pen coming in second with 23.2%.
The couple will campaign for two more weeks before the runoff on April 24, including a TV debate.
Recent polls show that the incumbent is President on track to win a second term even as the gap narrows.
He now leads Ms. Le Pen by 53% to 47%. Two weeks ago it was 55-45, and three weeks ago the gap was 58-42.
EU states are observing with growing unease that a victory for the far-right candidate would mean a severe blow to the project.
Mr Macron was criticized for not declaring his candidacy until the last minute and then running a weak campaign.
He tried to stay above the fray and make his mark as a leader in Europe and the world on the Ukraine war.
But his repeated phone calls with Vladimir Putin have yielded nothing, and critics say he has remained distant.
He’s now cramming around the country in a whistle-stop tour to reverse his self-important image and fortune.
In contrast, Ms Le Pen has toured smaller towns across the country to channel her anger at the cost of living crisis.
She has promised to reverse Mr Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 and exempt the under-30s from income tax.
The far-right leader has largely managed to shed her ties to the Kremlin and past praise for Putin.
She has so far supported EU sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, but opposes an oil and gas embargo.
When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, her party received a £9.4 million loan from a bank with ties to the Kremlin.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5114810/frexit-emmanuel-macron-marine-le-pen-french-election/ Emmanuel Macron warns that France could be the next country to leave the EU if Marine Le Pen wins the election