As French President Emmanuel Macron pushes to fight illiberal movements all across Europe, a nationalist school has opened right under his nose. In Western France, Marion Marechal is starting her own graduate school in September. She envisions to train students of anti-establishment, anti-European French leaders.
Marechal said in an interview, “We need to win back the influence and the elite in France and our youth — those who have a vision, roots and are patriotic — have to work to succeed and engage in the national debate.”
Touted as the rising star of the right, Marechal who is the grand-daughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen was praised by Donald Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon as “one of the most impressive people in the entire world.”
When her aunt Marine Le Pen lost in her second bid for the presidential seat to Macron last year, Marechal put her political career on hold. With next year’s European elections, Marechal seeks new means to push for a change in “balance of power”. She strongly believes that the French president is the enemy.
“Macron is an anomaly in this great historic movement that we are seeing in Europe now,” she said. “There is nothing new about him — he is from the same elite, of money and power. His ideology is liquid, its scraps and bits of the failed multicultural model.”
“Today we are seeing the intellectual re-arming of the European people,” Marechal said. “I want to be one of the actors, I want to be part of the next patriotic elite, but I am humble, this will take time.”
According to Jean-Yves Camus, an expert in European far-right politics, this move is a big risk for Marechal:
“If she fails to make it work, to attract teachers and students, her credentials for leadership will be tarnished. And then there is the rivalry with her aunt. Marine Le Pen is not at all ready to hand over the keys of French nationalism.”