Faced with Marine Le Pen, Nathalie Loiseau declares herself a candidate for the European

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, in her office, 21 December 2017. – JOEL SAGET / AFP

Spontaneous decision or staged opporunist, everyone will judge. European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said Thursday she was "ready" to lead the list of the majority in the European elections, after a tense televised debate with Marine Le Pen, who warned that Emmanuel Macron was going to to crush the French if he won this election.

Entry on the plateau of thePolitical Emission on France 2 as a possible head of the list for the Republic in March (LREM), Nathalie Loiseau emerged as a declared candidate.

"Madame Le Pen, I would like to say congratulations. Bravo, because you managed to change my mind, "she said addressing the President of the National Rally (RN) at the end of the debate. "Tonight it's true I'm ready to be a candidate," she added, adding that she did not inform the "majority leaders".

"You are hyper technocrats"

The boss of LREM deputies Gilles Le Gendre quickly reacted on Twitter by greeting "good news". "LREM MPs ready to mobilize behind Nathalie Loiseau," he added.

Until now, this close friend of Alain Juppé repeated, in a tone often annoyed, that she was "not candidate" while a growing number of supporters of the macronie saw her leading the list LREM-MoDem for the May 26 poll.

Aged 54, Nathalie Loiseau is relatively new to politics. Before joining the government in 2017, she had been a diplomat for a quarter century before taking the head of the National School of Administration (ENA) in 2012, from which she did not emerge.

"You are a hyper technocrat," launched Marine Le Pen, questioning the spontaneity of this nomination. "You bear the responsibility for failures" of the government, she attacked, calling on voters not to put the list of the majority in mind on May 26. "My goal is to be in the lead. I think if Emmanuel Macron comes in first, then he will squash the French because he will feel the wings grow, "she added. According to an Ifop-Fiducial poll released on Thursday, LREM remains ahead of the vote with 24% ahead of the RN (21%, -1) down slightly.

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