Should Éric Zemmour prove victorious in the upcoming French presidential election, the country will adopt a zero-immigration policy, leave the Schengen area, and ensure the historic German dominance within the European Union is over, French MEP Gilbert Collard has said.
In an exclusive interview with Remix News, Collard, a lawyer and spokesman for Zemmour’s campaign, and the honorary chairman of his hugely successful new party, Reconquête (Reconquest), offered his thoughts on the current French political landscape and his analysis of the Zemmour’s chances in the upcoming presidential election in April.
Here is the interview in full:
Why did you leave Marine Le Pen to join Éric Zemmour?
Because I prefer the flow to the ebb. There is a modernity of right-wing thought in Zemmour. He has the courage to act, and he is inhabited by an authenticity that is reflected in his speeches, in his actions, in his commitment. He has the dynamic, he belongs to the force of things, whereas Marine, unfortunately, is in a kind of fatalistic repetition that does not seduce anymore.
However, even if the trend is favorable to him, Éric Zemmour remains a few points behind Marine Le Pen in most polls, well over one month after you joined him. Aren’t you afraid that supporting Zemmour will only serve the interests of Valérie Pécresse, the center-right candidate?
No, because the pollsters in France apply a well-known rule: Marine Le Pen having always been undervalued, now she is systematically overvalued by applying a correction of 2-3 points upwards. And what Marine Le Pen experienced in the past in terms of voting intentions is now the lot of Éric Zemmour. Many people want to vote for Reconquest but do not say so. The media stigma makes people hesitate to say that they are voting for Reconquest, just as they once hesitated to say that they were voting for the National Front, or the National Rally after Marine Le Pen changed her party’s name. For that reason, polls are biased.
You seem to think that Éric Zemmour’s program is more right-wing than Marine Le Pen’s. What makes it more right-wing according to you?
First of all, Éric Zemmour advocates zero immigration, which is not the case for Marine Le Pen. Secondly, he is in favor of France leaving the Schengen area. He is also in favor of us no longer being subject to the European Court of Human Rights. He wants the political power to take back control over the state. He has an unfailing will to exercise power that is not expressed by Marine Le Pen. And he is also very strict on the issue of radical Islamism, which does not seem to be the case with Marine Le Pen.
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In terms of form, Éric Zemmour is often criticized for using somewhat too radical words, more so than Marine Le Pen, who has been engaged in a process of “de-demonization” for several years. Don’t you fear that this method of Zemmour can prevent center-right voters from supporting him in the second round?
I think that the time has come when the French want someone with character. The situation is so dramatic that the public opinion does not believe anymore all those candidates who are so eager to be invited to the worldly salons of the media. We have already had too much to do with weaklings – weaklings by their language and weaklings by their decisions that have led us to the current catastrophic, horrible situation. We have just learned from the prefect who was in charge of the region where Father Hamel was murdered that there were some people joyfully beeping their horns in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray after this terrorist attack! When you are in such a situation, it is clear that it is not some lukewarm leaders who are going to solve your problems. Éric Zemmour’s somewhat sharp character is only an expression of his courage and his will to do what he says.
You are one of several top members of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally who have passed over to Zemmour’s Reconquest party. Apart from a former vice-president of the center-right Les Républicains (LR) party, one has the impression that Éric Zemmour mainly attracts people from the RN. Do you think he is capable of bringing the Right together?
Just a few minutes ago I had an official LR candidate for next June’s legislative elections on the phone and she was telling me she had decided to join us. We regularly have people coming to us from the LR party. They are not always top figures or well known in the media, but, over time, they constitute a considerable input of people.
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You were a National Rally member for several years. Would you say today that you are seeing more people from the center-right rallying behind Éric Zemmour’s candidacy than you have ever seen in the National Rally?
Yes, of course, and that is because the National Rally is no longer attractive. It is an obvious sociological phenomenon: it no longer makes people want to do politics, whereas Éric Zemmour makes people want to do politics and to fight. The National Rally has become a conglomerate of apparatchiks. It is a technocratic party. Nicolas Bay has spoken of a sect. I would not go that far, but it is a party that has become bureaucratic, where everyone watches everyone, where everyone hates everyone, which is completely unbearable. With Zemmour, at least for the moment, there is still a certain joie de vivre.
After the departure of Nicolas Bay, who represented the Catholic and conservative sensibility in the RN but who had been more or less excluded from the leadership, like yourself, are there still conservatives around Marine Le Pen?
No, today there are none. The last one, Bruno Gollnisch, has been so willfully isolated that he has now been forgotten.
Do you think that it will still be possible for the French patriotic right to unite in favor of a common candidate against Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the presidential election?
The first round will clarify the personal issues. Once these will have been clarified for the second round, if it is, as I hope, Éric Zemmour who will have been designated to carry the ideas of the authentic right, those who will have voted for Marine Le Pen should mechanically vote for him. And the opposite is also true if it is Marine Le Pen who faces the incumbent president in the second round. First, there will be a vote on the person, but then there will be a vote on the ideas. Éric Zemmour’s ideas are much closer to those of the National Rally than to those of Mélanchon’s France Insoumise, of Les Républicains or of Macron’s En Marche.
Éric Zemmour talks a lot about immigration. Don’t you think that it is already too late, as France is already a multicultural society and the demographic dynamic is more on the side of immigrants and their descendants, in particular Muslims?
It is already very late, and that is why going soft in any way will aggravate France’s sickness. There must be no weakness in decision-making and one must not be afraid to displease.
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What will be Éric Zemmour’s policy in the area of immigration?
It will be zero immigration, as he has said, and in the area of asylum, we will simply apply the law again. It is very simple: entering France illegally will become a crime again. At present, entering France illegally gives you rights. This is the first time that illegality is a source of rights. All this will be removed. The problem today is this lack of will to act, which is almost ideological.
But then you will come up against the EU institutions.
France is the second largest net contributor to the EU budget. When you run into the second contributor, the struggle is soon over if the second contributor has muscle.
The EU institutions will not be able to blackmail France as they have been blackmailing Poland and Hungary, is that what you mean?
If they blackmail us, we will respond. At present, the political world is a world of lobbies, agreements and compromises. From the moment we decide not to play this game anymore, we become free again, and therefore free to say no. The European Union cannot live without us. The European Union has become an almost family business where interests are grouped together, where lobbies meet, where complicities are agreed upon. This was clearly seen during the pandemic, with the purchase of vaccines in excess numbers and the doubts about Ursula von der Leyen. It is clear that there is a European International in business.
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If Éric Zemmour wins the April presidential election in France, this will imply a major realignment of France’s European policy, which until now has been centered on the Franco-German couple. Germany has a new government that has a federal EU in its coalition program…
Of course, but we do not want Europe to be German. We are bound to come up against the German European ideology, which favors Germany’s economic interests. We are not fooled. We must not forget that the single currency was a request from the German Chancellor to the French. With us, the German hegemony in the EU will be over.