“Don’t listen to the siren songs of those who promise you a great French future after getting rid of all that is part of France today — guaranteeing European stability and being a pillar of the European Union,” he told French newspaper Ouest-France and Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe in an interview published Saturday.
Steinmeier did not mention Le Pen by name but his comments came in response to a question about the possibility that she could win the election. Although the race has tightened in recent days, opinion polls suggest the National Front leader will come first or second in the first round of the election on April 23. That would give her a place in a decisive run-off between the top two candidates on May 7.
Le Pen is highly critical of the European Union. She wants to renegotiate France’s membership of the bloc in favor of a much looser arrangement. If she failed to secure the changes she wanted, she would recommend France leaving the EU in a referendum.
Steinmeier, however, argued the EU was of great benefit to France.
An Ipsos-Sopra Sterna poll predicted Friday that independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen would each get 22 percent of the vote in the first round, while far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon — another fierce critic of the EU — would receive 20 percent and conservative François Fillon 19 percent, according to Reuters.
Polls predict Le Pen would lose to any of the other leading candidates in the run-off. However, at least one election forecaster has suggested she could triumph if she manages to mobilize her supporters while many voters who backed losing candidates in the first round decide to abstain in the run-off rather than rally around her challenger.
In the elections, there is “a lot at stake for all of Europe,” Steinmeier said.