Nicolas Dupont-Aignan is leader of the right-wing political party “France Arise” (“Debout la France”). He describes himself as “neither part of the system nor an extremist”: he is a Gaullist and emphasizes the importance of national sovereignty.
He claims that France has “lost its sovereignty” and that he will restore it to the French people: he will “bring back an independent foreign policy which serves the interests of this country alone.” His foreign-policy platform is based on the right to self-determination, which he believes has been flouted, notably by the European Union. However, he also believes that France should have global power and influence, and proposes to increase the promotion of French values around the world.
“In the age of globalization, the successful countries are the ones which strike a balance between openness to the world and intelligent protectionism.”
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan declares that “we must transform the [European] Union or take back our freedom!” His aim is to replace the European Union with a “Community of European States”, which would “allow all the countries that wish it, to organise small groups around big plans for the future”. In order to rebuild a “Europe of nations”, Dupont-Aignan has written an “alternative confederal project/treaty” as the basis of his renegotiation of the European Union.
He is opposed to all further EU enlargement, which he believes has “spoiled everything”, and wishes to “put an immediate stop to Turkey’s accession process to the European Union.” He demands that the borders of Eastern Europe be secured through a “great peace deal between Russia and Europe.” He also wants to “settle the Ukrainian crisis … we support a neutral Ukraine which must become a Euro-Russian cooperation area.”
He describes the Euro as “a racket” but advocates it becoming a reserve currency. He wants to suspend the enforcement of “laws that stand in the way of France’s independence – workers posted from abroad, the Schengen area…” and rejects all free-trade agreements such as TAFTA (Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement) or CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). “We give eight billion Euros a year to the EU to fund our competitors.”
Immigration and the Refugee Crisis
Dupont-Aignan has claimed that “If France does not secure its borders, it will be invaded. … We must close our borders because we are saturated: this is an invasion and I do not use the word lightly. It is a destabilization of the European continent and if the Europeans are unable to understand this, they don’t have much of a future to look forward to.”
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan wants to limit immigration and immigrants’ rights. He calls for stricter conditions for family reunification and benefit allowances: immigrants will have to “be resident on French soil for five years instead of eighteen months”, and “workers must work legally in France for five years before being eligible for benefits.” French nationality should only be awarded if the applicant has a clean criminal record and completes three months of national service.
Dupont-Aignan claims that the solution to migrants replacing French workers would be to “deport all illegal immigrants” and cancel the State Medical Aid provision which guarantees illegal immigrants the right to healthcare.
Defence and NATO
François Hollande’s agreement in January 2016 to full reintegration of French troops into the structure of NATO has, according to Dupont-Aignan, “sold off France’s independence, credibility and honour for the sake of a few appointments, despite the fact that the High Command is and always will be American: he has failed to realise that our loss will be far greater, since we have traded in our global influence for something completely illusory.” Dupont-Aignan wants France to restore its independent defence capability by leaving NATO’s integrated command structure. He intends to restore France’s global influence through wide international engagement: “It is absolutely counterproductive for France to deny its own values, especially in its relations with those emerging countries which, all too often, the American ‘clash of civilizations’ doctrine brands as our competitors.”
Dupont-Aignan would back up this global dialogue by an increase in the French armed forces by means of a new three-month national service obligation with a one-year military option, the recruitment of 50,000 professional soldiers and a hike in the Defence budget to 2% of GDP.
To counter terrorism, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan proposes that France “intensifies its fight against the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and Libya”, cancels the Schengen agreement and reinstates national border controls.
“French foreign policy needs to be completely reoriented. We need to defeat the Islamist barbarians of Daesh, and to defeat them we must stop fighting Assad. … We need to make a choice. We defeated Hitler by joining forces with Stalin. The Americans destabilized Saddam Hussein – they told us he was a monster – and we’ve seen the result. Nicolas Sarkozy destabilized Gaddafi and we’ve seen the result. In the end, these bleeding-heart attitudes get you nowhere.”
Dupont-Aignan wants France to play a “key part in the reconstruction of Syria and Iraq.” He supports the creation of a viable Palestinian State but insists that Israel be recognized by all Middle-Eastern countries.
He backs the Kurdish people’s will to constitute a State, seeing this as a “reward for its fight against the Islamic State” and as a legitimate demand since the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres planned its creation. He is also concerned about the safety of Eastern Christians.
His solution for “countering the generalized suspicion of Muslims” is to “create contracts between imams and the French Republic.” Imams would have to sign a written agreement to “respect the fundamental principles of gender equality, freedom of speech, a ban on foreign funding of mosques, preaching in French, toleration of apostasy…”
“An epoch-making demographic shock is on its way in Africa, and this should be an obsession for any future Head of State. Its population could increase by 1 million [sic] people in the coming years. If I become President of the Republic, there will be a map of Africa hanging up in my office.” Africa plays an important part in Dupont-Aignan’s foreign-policy platform, and there is a dedicated section on Franco-African relationships in his Foreign affairs programme, in which he speaks of a “grand partnership between France and Africa.” He proposes that France should support all economic agreements between African countries such as the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) or the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). These proposals are described as a “new Marshall Plan”.