Le Pen win in France would mean end of EU as we know it - German minister

BERLIN (Reuters) - A victory for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the second round of France's presidential election on May 7 would mean the end of the European Union in its existing form, Germany's Europe minister said on Friday.

As runner-up in last Sunday's opening ballot, Le Pen remains the underdog going into the run-off, but several polls have suggested she made a more impressive start to the last lap of campaigning than her rival Emmanuel Macron.

Following Britain's vote to leave the European Union, Le Pen wants to hold a referendum on France's EU membership after six months of negotiations to turn the bloc into a loose cooperative of nations.

Asked whether a Le Pen victory would mean the end of the EU, Germany's Europe Minister Michael Roth told Reuters: "It would be the end of the EU as we know it.

"I don't want to speculate but of course this would have massive consequences for a united Europe," he said. "It would be a clear signal that things cannot go on as they are."

An opinion poll on Friday showed Macron beating Le Pen by 60 percent to 40 percent in the run-off vote.

On Thursday, Le Pen said she wanted to replace the "grey" EU with a "happy Europe", in a speech that focused on her plans to build back border checks, but she did not mention her anti-euro stance.

Macron is in favour of closer European integration, although in interviews on Thursday he sought to present a tough position on countries he felt do not play by the rules.

"I am pleased that Macron is in first place and has a good chance to win the election," said Roth.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Janet Lawrence)