The top French far-right candidate in European parliamentary elections says that his party epitomizes progress with its return to an emphasis on protectionism.

Jordan Bardella, 23, hopes to be the youngest lawmaker in the EU parliament after elections in May. Along with Marine Le Pen, leader of his anti-immigration National Rally party, formerly National Front, he has already hit the campaign trail.

Bardella said in an interview Wednesday that President Emmanuel Macron, the defender of a strong EU, is “square” not progressive.

He said that Macron “often opposed nationalists to progressives” — but progress today “is called localizing … defending borders … protectionism.”

Most opponents haven’t announced candidates in the EU parliament elections.

Head of Marine Le Pen's party list for the European Parliament elections, Jordan Bardella poses after an interview with Associated Press in Nanterre, outside Paris, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Head of Marine Le Pen’s party list for the European Parliament elections, Jordan Bardella poses after an interview with Associated Press in Nanterre, outside Paris, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Head of Marine Le Pen's party list for the European Parliament elections, Jordan Bardella speaks during an interview with Associated Press in Nanterre, outside Paris, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Head of Marine Le Pen’s party list for the European Parliament elections, Jordan Bardella speaks during an interview with Associated Press in Nanterre, outside Paris, Wednesday, Feb. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)