Back in Coulommiers, Chauprade’s European affairs adviser, Adrien Mexis, 33, a lecturer in European law at the prestigious Sciences Po in Paris, former staffer at the European commission in Brussels, and newly elected Front National local councillor, is harsher still.
“I spent six years in Brussels,” he says, “where we were supposed to be defending the interests of the people of Europe. Instead, we defended the interests of the lobbyists, big industrial groups and multinationals. We defended ever-deeper integration and ever-wider federalism; a uniform, homogeneous Europe, devoid of identities.
“Is that really what the people of Europe want? I don’t think so. And I think they’re waking up to it. This is a big moment.”