July 22, 2017 / 7:30 PM / a month ago

France's far-right National Front party reaffirms anti-EU stance

Marine Le Pen of France's far-right National Front (FN) political party attends a session of the French National Assembly in Paris, France, June 27, 2017.Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - France's far-right National Front party reaffirmed on Saturday its anti-European Union stance while admitting voters' concerns over its policy to quit the euro, at the end of a two-day meeting aimed at analyzing its defeat in this year's election.

"Those taking part in the meeting unanimously reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty of our nation as the fundamental objective of our political movement," the party said in a statement.

"They also gave a strong reminder of their opposition to the European Union, as well as their desire to see the emergence of a Europe of nations and alliances," the National Front added.

Leader Marine Le Pen had vowed a 'renewal' of the party after she lost the presidential election to centrist Emmanuel Macron in May.

A month later, the National Front (FN) won just eight seats in parliamentary elections, well short of the minimum of 15 required to form a group with greater influence in the chamber.

Saturday's meeting will be followed by a questionnaire to be sent to National Front members in September, and a party congress early next year.

Among the biggest disagreements is the FN's economic policy, and in particular its rejection of the euro, an idea which is unpopular with the majority of the electorate but appeals to the party's core supporters.

"We have taken into account the electorate's message on the euro, namely that it was something that worried them," Jerome Riviere, part of Le Pen's presidential campaign team, told Reuters on Saturday.

Riviere said the FN's main priorities were on migration and border controls, rather than the euro currency.

Deputy chief Florian Philippot threatened to quit if the FN's policy on restoring the franc was dropped, to the annoyance of some senior colleagues, while Le Pen has left open the possibility of watering down the pledge.

Political analysts blamed the FN's election defeat on its lack of allies, distrust among voters for some of its hardline policies and a TV debate performance by Le Pen that some party officials admit was damaging.

Additional reporting by Cyril Camu and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Helen Popper

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