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Brexit domino effect ‘will bring down Europe’

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The leader of the French far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen, has said Brexit set off a domino effect that “will bring down all of Europe”.

She said the British and Americans had pulled off “coups” in 2016 and predicted that 2017 would be the “year the people of continental Europe woke up”.

Speaking at a meeting of nationalist leaders from major European countries in the German city of Koblenz, Ms Le Pen said the EU was “system of oppression” and added: “We are experiencing the end of one world and the birth of another.”

Ms Le Pen is seen as highly likely to make the run-off for the French presidency in May, the right-wing nationalist party, Alternative for Germany, is expected to make significant gains at the election in September.

She said: “The first real blow struck against the old order, the thing that will set off the domino effect that will bring down all of Europe is Brexit, a sovereign people has decided to leave an agreement of the powerful, to decide its own destiny.

“The second blow came shortly afterwards and that was the election of Mr Trump to the presidency of the United States, putting the friends of neo-liberalism in an even more difficult situation.”

Also attending the meeting were leader of the Alternative for Germany Frauke Petry, Dutch far-right Freedom Party, Geert Wilders and Matteo Salvini, of Italy’s anti-EU Northern League.

In an interview with The Times newspaper earlier this week, Donald Trump said the EU had become “a vehicle for Germany”.

He was sharply critical of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policy, saying she had let too many “illegals” into continental Europe.

Speaking on Saturday following Mr Trump’s inauguration, Mrs Merkel has said she will work on preserving the relationship between Europe and the US.

She said: “… the trans-Atlantic relationship will not be less important in the coming years that it was in past years and I will work on that.

“Event when there are different opinions, compromises and solutions can be best found when we exchange ideas with respect.”