Le Pen france Ebola Immigration
Founder and honorary president of the French far-right Front National (FN) party Jean-Marie Le Pen speaks at a campaign meeting in MarseilleFRANCK PENNANT/AFP/Getty Images

The founder of France's far-right National Front (FN), Jean-Marie Le Pen, has said that Europe's immigration problems could be resolved by an epidemic of Ebola.

Le Pen, who is standing at the European elections for the party now run by his daughter, Marine, was discussing what he described as the consequences of "population explosion" with fellow FN members at a cocktail party before an election rally in Marseille.

The 85-year-old politician claimed that high birthrates in developing counties represent a threat to western Europe, where the rate of births is far lower.

"Monseigneur Ebola could sort that out in three months," he added, according to Le Monde newspaper.

An outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has caused the deaths of more than 150 people since the beginning of the year, according to the World Health Organisation.

Le Pen, who has received regular fines for racist remarks during his decades-long political career, further elaborated his thoughts when he took the stage and addressed supporters.

"In our country and in all Europe, we have known a cataclysmic phenomenon – a migratory invasion that, my friends, we are seeing only the beginning of today," he said.

"This massive immigration risks producing a real replacement of populations if we don't arrive in power soon enough to put an end to the politics of decadence that has been followed for decades."

Le Pen compared Europe to The Raft of the Medusa, a renowned painting by French artist Théodore Géricault depicting sailors crammed on a raft after their ship sank.

Le Pen said that the situation was made worse by the fact that most immigrants were Muslims, a religion that has "a conquering vocation ... especially when it feels strong and they feel numerous."

Le Pen handed the reins of the party he founded in 1973 to his youngest daughter Marine in 2011.

She has since successfully worked to clean up FN's longstanding image of a racist, anti-Semitic and chauvinistic party to broaden its appeal.

FN made historic gains at local elections earlier this year and is now poised to score big in the EU vote.