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Estonia: Le Pen says Putin will not have Europe under his thumb

BC, Tallinn, 15.05.2019.Print version

Leader of the French right-wing populist and nationalist National Rally Marine Le Pen said at a press conference following a meeting with leaders of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) in Tallinn on Tuesday that she will not allow for Russian President Putin to have France or Europe under his thumb, cited LETA/BNS. 

The French politician, who has been accused of being friendly with the Kremlin, said such insinuations were offensive.

"I am defending the interests of my state and standing up for Europe's interests. I will not allow for us to be under Putin's thumb," Le Pen said.

As to the annexation of Crimea, Le Pen said that Crimea has a right to make its own decisions in terms of its identity and nationality.

"With reference to Crimea, each state must have the opportunity to freely determine their diplomacy," she said. "If a European state and its sovereignty should come under threat, we will stand beside that state to defend it."

When asked if rumors of her party, the National Rally, being funded by the Kremlin are true, Le Pen noted that they are not financed by Russia.

"This is all a false. No European bank would grant us a loan. Thus we had to apply for a loan all over the world," Le Pen said.

She added that the bank situated in the Czech Republic, which agreed to grant the National Rally a loan, simply happened to be Russian.

"[It was granted] at a really bad interest rate, by the way. We got a loan and we will pay it back," Le Pen said.

The French politician expressed surprise over the number of questions regarding Russia posed by reporters. She noted that she grew up during the Cold War and her party, the National Rally, has its roots in anti-Communist struggle, and that she intends to bring flowers to the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Tallinn.

Le Pen opined that NATO should focus more on the fight against terrorism and said that US President Donald Trump agrees with her position. She also spoke about the French-led anti-insurgency operation in the Sahel region of Central Africa and noted that with the operation France also defends the rest of Europe. 

The objective of the press conference in Tallinn was to introduce the cooperation program of nationalist parties of European states.

Representatives of Italy's Lega Nord, the Finns Party, the Danish People's Party and Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Milan on April 8 called for the creation of a united bloc in the European Parliament. Several parties in Europe have joined the effort, including Estonia's EKRE.

Le Pen said that the new bloc in the European Parliament seeks allies, not clones without any differing opinions. She pointed out that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who hold differing positions on a number of issues, nevertheless belong to the same party in the European Parliament.

"I do not wish for Estonia to become France or for Germany to become Estonia. Let us respect who we are. Macron calls a certain capital city a disease and Orban a madman. We do not wish for insults but for consensus. No state can be forced to do anything," she said.

The event in Tallinn was organized as part of the pan-European election campaign of the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom (MENF), EKRE said in a press release.

Prior to the press conference, a meeting was held at the House of the Blackheads in Tallinn's Old Town on Tuesday, which was attended by EKRE's Jaak Madison, Marine Le Pen, Finns Party's representative Olli Kotro, Danish People's Party's representative Anders Vistisen as well as Manuel Vescovi from Italy's Lega Nord.

Participants in the press conference following the meeting included Le Pen, Madison, Vescovi and Kotro.

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