Nigel Farage says RN economic plan is a ‘disaster’ for France

The Reform UK leader has distanced himself from the French far-right party

Nigel Farage speaking
Farage supported Marine Le Pen in the 2017 presidential election
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Nigel Farage, the Reform UK leader and one of Brexit’s biggest supporters, has said the Rassemblement National’s [RN] economic plans would be a “disaster” if implemented in France.

He said the party would be “even worse for the economy than the current lot” in an interview to the British website UnHerd after a Reform UK rally in Birmingham Sunday, June 30. 

The RN came first in the first round of the elections on June 30 with over 33% of the vote, compared to 28% for the left-wing alliance the New Popular Front, and 21% for President Macron’s Ensemble !. 

Mr Farage is running in the UK General Election on Thursday, July 4 on a platform that includes freezing all “non-essential” immigration and sending illegal migrants who arrive in small boats back to France. The party has also pledged to cut taxes for small businesses and to scrap the UK’s net-zero carbon target. 

Read more: French election June 30: clear lead for the far right 

Mr Farage previously supported party leader Marine Le Pen during her 2017 presidential bid, saying she “would make a good leader of France” and praising her as a “sincere Eurosceptic”. 

Writing in The Telegraph, he said the roots of the Front National, the forerunner to the RN “were deep in Vichy” and that “anti-Semitism was embedded in its DNA”. 

However, he concluded a Le Pen victory in 2017 would be good for the UK and that if she did not win in 2017, she would succeed in 2022. 

This prediction did not turn out to be correct. Despite narrowing the gap with President Macron compared to 2017, Ms Le Pen was beaten in the second round of the 2022 presidential election, with President Macron winning 58.5% of the vote to her 41.5%. 

Read more: Election first round: see how people voted in your area of France

RN’s economic policies 

Some of the RN’s costly and more protectionist economic proposals going into the parliamentary elections have caused alarm. 

It has pledged to remove income tax for under 30s and cut VAT on electricity and gas from 20% to 5.5%. It has also promised to scrap President Macron’s controversial pension reform that raised the retirement age from 62 to 64. 

Read more: French parliamentary elections: What are the main parties’ policies?

France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has been vociferous in his criticism of the RN’s economic programme, saying the party “does not care about public money” and warning the French to “prepare for massive tax rises” under an RN government. 

He also said voting for the RN or the far-left La France Insoumise would be “Frexit in disguise”, in an interview with Le Figaro after the first round. 

Writing in financial newspaper Les Echos on Tuesday, June 2, three eminent economists warned of the “perils” of the RN’s economic programme, which they deemed “dangerous for the attractiveness, diplomacy and independence of France”. 

Read more: What do UK parties offer for Britons abroad in election manifestos?

Mr Farage took over the leadership of Reform UK in June 2024. The party has slumped in the polls in recent days after a series of controversies, ranging from reports of activists' racist comments to candidates defecting to the Conservatives. 

Read more: French elections 'could spell the end of the EU as we know it'

Until 2017, the RN had much more Farage-esque policies when it came to the EU. It promised it would hold a referendum on France’s EU membership and wanted France to leave the euro. 

It has since dropped some of these policies – the party leader Jordan Bardella said there would be no “Frexit” during campaigning for the parliamentary elections but said the party would want to reduce France’s contribution to the EU budget by “two to three billion euros”.