EU tax chief admits Le Pen winning would be the end of the European project

Convinced Marine Le Pen cannot be next French president: Moscovici
Convinced Marine Le Pen cannot be next French president: Moscovici

A win for far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen would spell the end of the EU – but the French are not crazy enough to let that happen, insists European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.

"I'm confident. I know my citizens and my compatriots well and know they are not going to elect a candidate who is proposing France exiting (Europe). That would be the end of the European project," Moscovici, who is European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, told CNBC Monday.

In a clear nod to the rising populist movements in Europe, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and the U.K.'s EU referendum, Moscovici, said he believes common sense will prevail as France goes to the polls in the two-round election this year.

"I cannot imagine 50 percent of the French are crazy enough to vote for her," he said.

"I'm quite convinced that she cannot win … she never even ever won a regional election in France – never ever."

Sylvain Lefevre | Getty Images | Getty Images News

Moscovici appealed, however, to the other presidential candidates, who include Independent Emmanuel Macron and Republican Francois Fillon, to prove themselves to the electorate and, ultimately, make a stronger case for remaining in the EU.

"The other candidates need to have a stronger campaign and show that they are credible to propose a future that is likeable for the French.

"I think the rise of Le Pen is a result of the disappointment in other candidates, so I urge them to make a strong proposal for France, and as well for Europe, and for France in Europe."

Moscovici pondered – but quickly dismissed – the notion of a win for Le Pen, who has been gaining ground on her rivals in recent polling.

"If Marine Le Pen comes in office, if she asks for a referendum on Frexit, what would Europe be about? Europe was founded precisely in order that France and Germany and others work together in a common project. But this won't happen – it's just to say how crazy it will be if she is elected – that is why precisely it cannot happen, it won't happen, it must not happen"

France will go to the polls for first-round elections in April. The second-round vote is due in May.