Return to Transcripts main page
France's Le Pen Hails Rise of "Worldwide Movement"; What Trump Win Means for EU-U.S. Relations; Donald Trump and the Rise of Populism; Helping a Forgotten Paris. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired November 17, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, from Paris, a warning for Europe, from the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, this is a
continent at risk of breaking apart, he said, with the rising tide of populism, Brexit and immigration crisis. So what now for France, which is
at Europe's heart?
My guest tonight -- the former French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, plus Nicolas Bay, General Secretary of the far right National Front Party
gaining ground here ahead of election and the journalist Christine Ockrent.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Paris.
A city often referred to as the continental capital of Europe. But this is a continent in crisis, a crisis so critical that today the French prime
minister warned Europe is in danger of collapse speaking in Berlin, where President Obama is meeting Angela Merkel.
Manuel Valls said that France and Germany must take the lead to stop Europe falling apart as it grapples with fears over immigration, Brexit, terrorism
and rising nationalism.
One woman making political hay on all of these is Marine Le Pen, France's far-right leader who is running for president in next year's election. A
win for the far-right might have seemed out of the question even a year ago, but now Le Pen is feeling confident after Brexit and Donald Trump's
U.S. election victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARINE LE PEN, PRESIDENT, FRENCH NATIONAL FRONT (through translator): They say the policies that you, Marine Le Pen has isolate you. Well, I feel
less isolated today, because of the multi-polar world defended by Donald Trump, but also by Theresa May and Vladimir Putin. I have a feeling that
it's Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Hollande who should feel isolated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So for the first time, France's Republican and socialist parties are holding American-style primaries to choose their presidential
candidates. The Republicans will hold a debate tonight and conduct their first round of voting on Sunday.
As in America, the race here is dividing the country and it is causing nerves to fray.
So joining me now to discuss all of this is the long-time journalist Christine Ockrent and Nicolas Bay, who is the general secretary of the
Welcome both of you.
Can I just first turn to you, because Marine Le Pen says she is no longer isolated. President Hollande is isolated, Chancellor Merkel is isolated
and she is now in the driving seat.
NICOLAS BAY, GENERAL SECRETARY, NATIONAL FRONT PARTY (through translator): We say today that's true. Marine Le Pen is a candidate for the
presidential elections gives rise to a lot of hope in the French people. As Donald Trump created hope in the U.S. And as we see everywhere in
Europe, where the people are waking up to seize hold of their destiny and now we're seeing not the collapse of Europe, but the European Union.
And she's spoken about employment, growth, security, but in fact we have unemployment, terrorism and the people now gradually they don't want this
old model anymore. They want a Europe which is built around nations, which are sovereign and where the people find their freedom.
AMANPOUR: So you heard what Mr. Bay said. Is that what the French people want? And do you believe that given Brexit, given Trump, Marine Le Pen is
no longer isolated, no longer on the fringe of politics that are rising today?
CHRISTINE OCKRENT, JOURNALIST: Well, first of all, a short remark. Our forthcoming election is not primarily about the European Union. Of course
I don't agree at all with what Nicolas Bay has just said. But what is true is that although Marine Le Pen is leading a political party which is still
isolated on our political chessboard and as much as other political party wants really to make any alliance with it, what is absolutely true is that
she benefits from the Trump effect so to speak, after Brexit.
That it's a sort of double effect. How it will actually translate in the world remains to be seen and the first test of course will be the primaries
on the conservative side. The results of which will have in about ten days.
AMANPOUR: You heard what Ms. Ockrent said. She doesn't have the same kind of alliances other parties that back her or could go into a coalition with
her. But for both of you, I want to ask you, the Republicans seem quite divided. Now you have a Mr. Macron who's jumped in, who could take votes
Mr. Hollande, your president, is very unpopular. Is that an opportunity for you? Do you think she can win? Nobody ever thought the National Front
could win. Do you think this is a time that it could?
[14:05:15] BAY (through translator): I think a few months ago nobody thought that Donald Trump would win and a few months ago nobody thought
either that the UK would leave the EU. So I think that Marine Le Pen's victory is not only necessary, but now possible.
I think many French people today don't want to vote, (INAUDIBLE) president of the republic, minister, prime minister, Alain Juppe, Nicolas Sarkozy,
(INAUDIBLE) and Manuel Valls.
All their policies have failed, especially the policy which was to serve other interests than those of the people. And now in France as elsewhere,
there's a popular will to take over the vote and to choose once again their destiny and that's why the victory of the Marine Le Pen is possible.
It's true that our situation is not that we thought or we might have immediate allies, but maybe we could become a majority. Because today
opponents have to recognize that they agree on everything and even make a coalition to fight against us.
AMANPOUR: So even people who never thought like, like former prime ministers are saying that if the election was held today, she would
probably win. What about, though, on the ideas?
Mr. Bay says that it's about Europe. You say that it's not about Europe. But she has said, we want you know, a Frexit. I mean, she says one of the
first things she'll do is hope to contribute to the collapse of the European Union.
OCKRENT: Yes, but she's very careful about the euro, the common currency. Because she knows that the majority of the French, however displeased they
are with the current government, they don't want to get out of the Euro.
That what is actually interesting is that indeed, even before Mr. Trump's victory, Marine Le Pen was credited with enough votes for the first round
of our presidential election, which is a direct election, contrary to the American one, that's very important.
She was credited in the polls, whatever they're worth, that indeed she could make it to the second round, which is very much what her own father
did 14 years ago.
AMANPOUR: Yes, indeed.
OCKRENT: You covered it. And that was a huge shock. At that time, 2002, all traditional parties and all voters actually made a sort of sacred union
to prevent Mr. Le pen, the father, from getting to the Elysees.
What is true is that this time around that what we call the Republican Front has nothing to do with the Republican Party, of course, the dam so to
speak, will not perform as well.
But to this day, you have no poll saying that Marine Le Pen could actually win the second round.
OCKRENT: And again, the whole debate is very domestic and Europe, I personally regret it so far. Europe has not been for instance on the
conservative side, part of the conversation.
AMANPOUR: Now to the issues. We're talking about politics here, we're talking about alliances, we're talking about what might happen.
You know, Mr. Bay, that one of the big reasons that people dislike Marine Le Pen and people are frightened of Marine Le Pen is because of what she
says about foreigners, what she says about immigrants. What her party has historically said, including her father.
Let me just read you something that she said in 2012 and ask you to react to it.
In 2012, she gave an interview in which she said "Would you accept 12 illegal immigrants moving into your flat? You would not. On top of that,
they start to remove the wall paper. Some of them would steal your wallet and brutalize your wife."
It's considered damning and demonizing language and thought she hasn't changed from that, has she?
BAY (through translator): I think it's first of all a language of truth saying that immigration, illegal immigration, is there for security and
sometimes terrorism in our country. That's being clear politically. And now there is a political class which is blind. They want us to think that
because they see immigration as a way of lowering employees' wages, it is good.
Today such immigration is bad for public accounts. There were nine million poor people in France, nearly six million true unemployed. We've got
nothing to offer these immigrants, especially if they're clandestine. And they shouldn't stay on the territory. But I think that that's what French
are waiting for and the people. Donald Trump was right to campaign in particular on protecting the U.S. against an immigration risk and one of
the first measures he announced is to expulse three million illegal immigrants.
[14:10:10] What we are saying is not exaggerated. It's realistic, pragmatic, to defend French people against such immigration. But does it
not bother you that a French president in the country of human rights values and the enlightenment can actually utter those words and consider
all illegal immigrants in the same basket, or consider one bad apple synonymous with everyone?
BAY (through translator): Once again, immigration, illegal immigration is not only in France. It shouldn't be. Look, in a limited way, we don't
need such immigration, we can have legal immigration, which we decided to let in.
But illegal immigration by definition has no room in France and today we can't accept for example that the government should cancel 30,000 hospital
beds and give up the idea of housing millions of French people who are badly housed and yet using taxpayers' money to organize centers for illegal
That's not acceptable. We're not accusing the immigrants themselves. We're thinking that the political leaders are not dealing with their own
AMANPOUR: It is a touchstone in Europe, isn't it? Immigration, the whole wave of refugees who has come over since the Syria war have really upset
Are your politicians, the people that you support, up to dealing with this crisis? And do you think like President Obama and Angela Merkel today
signed a joint op-ed saying there's no turning back globalization, there's no turning back technological progress. And, you know, that the world is
going to have to move forward. Is that a, is that possible?
OCKRENT: Well, you know, any politician can always promise anything, eventually get elected and then be confronted with reality. I think that
in France, the immigration or rather the refugee crisis, the migrant crisis has been very poorly dealt with by the current government.
And I hear no plan from the opposition, the traditional opposition that makes any sense. And again, in the current conversation among the
conservatives, there's nothing really concrete there. Nevertheless, it is a fact and it will not stop. And not only refugees coming from the Middle
East walls, but of course the whole of sub-Sarahan Africa.
I mean, people who want better standards of living. So it's a huge phenomenon that will remain with us for sometime. And our politicians, all
of them, including Madam Le Pen, if she wants to have a responsible attitude, will have to face them.
AMANPOUR: This is a long discussion that we're going to continue to have as we watch this political upheaval.
Christine Ockrent, Nicolas Bay, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
OCKRENT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And next up, we turn to what could be the biggest loser in 2016's populist revolt, the environment. That and other global agreements
that could now be at risk. The former French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, on Trump's world, next.
[14:15:00] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
And now we turn to France amidst the new global shifts. Will there be a whole new relationship for the continent with the new U.S. President Donald
The words trending here a week ago right after his election victory were shock and nightmare. So, has one week tempered that mood?
Joining me now to discuss is the former French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
Welcome to the program.
LAURENT FABIUS, FORMER FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: Hello.
AMANPOUR: Has one week tempered the shock and horror that people around certainly Europe felt about that victory?
FABIUS: Well, the victory of Donald Trump was a surprise. And --
AMANPOUR: Not a shock?
FABIUS: And for some of us, a shock as well. But now the time has come for questions, because on some issues, it seemed that the new, the elect-
president maybe following what he has said on other points. It's a bit different. Therefore, I was yesterday in Marrakech for the Climate COP22,
there are a lot of question marks.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, he said out loud that it's a hoax and he wants to pull the U.S. out of it. Obviously, the Obama administration wants to try
to ram it through before, you know, before he leaves. But Trump has already indicated that he wants to pull the U.S. out sooner rather than
How will that affect the whole accord?
FABIUS: Well, it will be an enormous blow-back because, as you know, U.S. are the second, most largest polluters in the world. U.S. themselves are
hit by hurricanes, by drought, by a series of catastrophes and we know for certain that climate change is the big problem of this century. And,
therefore, if a decision was taken, maybe not to get out of the agreement, but not to implement the agreement, it will be very, very lamentable.
AMANPOUR: And corners, such as even Russia and China are urging Trump not to not implement it.
Can I move on to something that is really sort of been at the heart of your foreign policy? You know, the Obama administration, everybody, and that is
Russia's aggression, Russia's adversarial rise, particularly vis-a-vis, you know, wanting to hang on to Crimea and its interference with Ukraine.
This is what a Russian senator told me they hope that President Trump will do about Crimea. Just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXEY PUSHKOV, RUSSIAN SENATOR: We know the position of the United States on Crimea. At the same time, we think that Crimea should not be put in the
center of our relationship. I personally, strongly doubt that Crimea is a first national priority for the United States. And so we think that we
should kind of agree to disagree on this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So essentially he's saying and not so hard to crack code, we think Donald Trump will leave Crimea in our orbit and won't harass us about
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FABIUS: Well, there is a legal aspect first. The legal, the international community has not accepted that a country because it is a big country can
seize a part of a small country and that the question of Crimea, and I think this aspect will not change.
Now on the other hand, nobody will go to war with Russia about Crimea. Everyone knows that. I don't know what the new administration will do.
But the objective at least for France has always been to have good relationship with Russia, but not to accept everything, because there are
And if you are too loose, there can be step by step problems.
AMANPOUR: And you said, you know, for some people, the victory of Trump was a shock, but to other people it was a great delight. People like
Marine Le Pen, like Nigel Farage, like all the far right leaders across Europe, Geert Wilders and the others. This rising tide of populism. Is it
going to knock you off for six?
I mean, your prime minister today said in Berlin than this could be the end of Europe. That Europe is in a very dangerous place right now.
FABIUS: First, what we have seen in the U.S., it's not only an American thing. It's more general. So as France is concerned, obviously we had to
listen to people in France and abroad and not to accept nationalism and populism, because at the end of the day, it's contradictory with the
interest of the people.
I know that you are familiar with French literature. You know Victor Hugo?
[14:20:08] FABIUS: OK. Although I will translate a small sentence of Victor Hugo, which is magnificent. He said in English, "The mob often
betrays the people." "The mob often betrays the people." And that's really. It goes to to the center of the problem.
AMANPOUR: Well, if the mob betrays the people often, what about the establishment? You know, what can the establishment do to win back the
trust of the people, because they are being blamed right now. And President Obama, Chancellor Merkel have penned an op-ed saying that, you
know, this progress is here to stay. Globalization is here to stay. Our shared values are here to say, but some of these people don't want it.
How do you convince them?
FABIUS: Well, that's one of the great difficulties, because people who are in power have to take more attention to what people are asking for and
answering in rational terms, but also understanding that not only rational elements. And they have to show that there is a way to progress. And they
have to speak about an act, about fighting inequalities and they have to deliver.
AMANPOUR: We'll see whether they can.
Laurent Fabius, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.
FABIUS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
So we'll take a quick break now.
When we come back the opportunity fault line between France and its immigrant community. One year after the ISIS attacks that killed 130
people in this city, imagine how bringing everyone into the fold could make France great again.
AMANPOUR: Finally tonight, imagine a world not so far away from the glittering city of light, but also a world away. France's desperately poor
suburbs, heavily populated by citizens of its colonial past and other immigrants. One year on since the terror attacks at the Bataclan concert
hall, the soccer stadium and the restaurants, integration is still a spluttering dream. Discrimination is common. But there are success
stories as well, as Melissa Bell found out from residents of the suburb of Sarcelles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When you hear Sarcelles, you hear about the riots that happened years ago, but we don't speak about anything
else in the media.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Riots in 2005, 2007 and 2014 that have left one image of Sarcelles and of so many other French banlieue,
this poor, usually remote urban suburbs that are so often forgotten.
This apartment block in Sarcelles has been Youssuf Bass' (ph) home all his life. Ever since he graduated in April, he's been trying and failing to
get a job in marketing. He has no way of knowing what part either his name or the name of his suburb has played.
[14:25:12] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If a recruiter reads Sarcelles and he has a bad image of the town, and he says to himself I'm
not going to recruit him because he's from Sarcelles, I won't know that. I won't know why I wasn't selected.
BELL: Youssuf (ph) sends CVs from this flat he shares with his mother, everyday. Sometimes he gets a rejection letter, mostly though he hears
nothing. One thing he is sure of is that he's on the outside of the system he so desperately wants to join.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A young guy from the 16th arrondissement in Paris whose parents are from (INAUDIBLE), he is going to
benefit from that network. He'll also have the finances for a good school. All of that matters.
BELL (on-camera): While Youssuf (ph) is not alone in believing that discrimination is behind his inability to find a job, but it's almost
impossible to prove and that's because here in France there simply are no statistics on either ethnicity or race.
One recent study has suggested, though, that France's GDP could rise by nearly 7 percent over the course of the next 20 years if it were to widen
access to the workplace. That's one thing a company just behind this door is trying to do.
(voice-over): The idea is to tap into the spirit of enterprise coming out of the banlieue and plenty of people are trying to make a difference. Here
at Mosaik, they work hard to help place young people from remote tower blocks into work and they're getting great feedback.
SAID HAMMOUCHE, CEO, MOZAIK RH (through translator): It's true that when you find a candidate who may be from a less privileged background and he's
recruited by an employer that generates diversity and diversity means more creativity, better performance, more mobility.
France is struggling to transform itself. But in order to transform itself, it needs to realize there's a problem. It's clear there are people
today who believe discrimination does not exist and they're in denial.
BELL: The question of opportunity in the banlieue and youth unemployment are proving central issues in the upcoming French election. The National
Front Marine Le Pen says the problem has nothing to do with discrimination.
LE PEN (through translator): There are a lot of young people in France at moment who can't find work. They're not just in the banlieue, they are
also in the countryside. It has nothing to do with their name. It's that economy is tanking.
BELL: Zora is another child of the banlieue who has broken through to disadvantages to land an office job in Paris, and although it took her
months to get it she now thinks that her background is a help, rather than a hindrance.
ZORA YOUNSI: It has made me stronger, more combative than others. I had to make more of an effort so when I work, I work harder than other people.
Yes, my name is Zora. I love my name. There's a story behind my name. That's life. It's diversity and I believe everyone has a talent.
BELL: It's a message that Zora hopes one day to bring back to the banlieue where the wait for so many continues.
Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
AMANPOUR: And they keep trying every day. And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can listen to our podcast any time and see us
online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from Paris.