“Europe must end its dependencies”

“Europe must end its dependencies”

François-Xavier Bellamy, 38, is the head of the Les Républicains (LR) list in the European elections on June 9.

The European Union (EU) was to protect us from decline. However, for thirty years, we Europeans have been falling behind, particularly in relation to the United States. Whose fault is it ?

François-Xavier Bellamy: Today, we are experiencing the loss of Europe in the world, in relation to the United States, but also in relation to Chinese industrial superpower, and then there is that of France within Europe. This double disconnection hits the French in their daily lives. The school is going through – I say this as a teacher – a deep crisis. Both the public hospital and the justice system are impoverished. One in three French people say they end up skipping a meal because they are unable to eat normally. The European response involves moving away from naivety and a situation where we have become accustomed to a global division of labor: the United States invents, Asia produces and Europe regulates. This choice of dependence on Chinese industry, American security, Russian energy has made us vulnerable.

Who is responsible for this addiction?

Europe was first and foremost an internal market and a trade policy which contributed to the growth of many businesses. But today, what weakens us is not having seen our duty to recreate the conditions for producing in our countries. In the European Parliament, we had a fundamental disagreement, with, in the name of the environment, an alliance between socialists, Greens, elected Macronists to organize degrowth. The “Farm to Fork” strategy (“from farm to fork”, Editor’s note) was expected to reduce agricultural production in the EU by 13 to 15%. The fight against nuclear power has long been carried out by the left, the Greens, and even by the governments of Emmanuel Macron. All this, in the name of an idea of ​​ecology as European decline. I believe the opposite. For the environmental challenge, which is global, Europe must – and it is its duty – to move away from its dependencies, because its production model is less carbon-intensive than the others. We must export our way of producing, and not depend on these extra-European agricultural, industrial and energy productions, which are much more destructive for the environment.

Can we survive in a world where we are the only ones to apply our own rules, including within the EU?

Responsibility lies in the hands of the French government. We must choose, if we are European, to be completely European. If we opt for a single market without barriers, without tariffs or quotas, we cannot decide to impose ever more rules on those who produce here than on those who produce elsewhere. Paris says: we must be the most demanding and the others will follow us. But it does not work. If you are alone in applying rules of virtue that others do not respect and you keep your markets open to global competition, you are dead. And you are destroying the most environmentally virtuous production model. The priority for Europe should not be to impose more constraints on its producers, but, through its European market, to lead other global producers in decarbonization. China opens two new coal-fired power plants per week. So, let's use our market to set our conditions for China, as it knows how to do so well, by putting a price on carbon, because the climate emergency means getting out of coal. Otherwise, how can the cattle farmer in France understand that the European Commission comes to tell him that climate change is caused by his peaceful cows? The best service that Europe can provide to the planet is to start producing again at home.

“The best service that Europe can provide to the planet is to start producing again at home. »

Europe helps the Ukrainians with 80% of weapons and ammunition coming from the United States. Can we last long?

No, of course. The challenge is to revive our defense industry. And here again, Europe, undoubtedly, was too naive. I was rapporteur for the first European defense fund, a very good cooperation project. But in the home stretch, the States chose to cut its budget from 13 to 8 billion euros. The United States invests, I believe, $300 billion a year in its defense industry.

Emmanuel Macron could make the same diagnosis as you. Deep down, what separates you?

The problem is that the Macronist deputies in the European Parliament have carried out this strategy of constraint throughout these years. The chairman of the environment committee, Pascal Canfin, a Macronist MP from the ranks of the Greens and the world of environmental NGOs, carried this anti-nuclear vision, which we fought, and the obligation of 100% electric vehicles in 2035 , this immense gift to Chinese industry. I don't believe you can say one thing in Paris and do the opposite in Brussels; explain in Paris that we support farmers while in Brussels, we vote for a text which reduces agricultural production; tell Paris that we are relaunching nuclear power, but in Brussels, see its elected representatives vote against its inclusion in European policies. Three weeks ago, the same people voted for a far-left text which will impose disproportionate demands on businesses. While Emmanuel Macron, in Paris, was talking about a regulatory pause, his elected officials in Brussels were doing the opposite. The second thing that strikes me is that Emmanuel Macron, to save Europe, wants to use the same revenues as in Paris, a new loan and European taxes. However, there is no magic money! If it were enough to have debt and compulsory levies to be powerful, France would be the most powerful country in the European Union today!

Is immigration inevitable in an aging continent?

You have to know. Either we defend the idea that it is just and necessary, or we defend the idea that it is inevitable. Europe must regain control of its borders, say who comes in or not. A few days ago, at the Franco-Italian border, I spoke with the police, forced, they said, by the complexity of the rules imposed, to let individuals enter French soil whom they suspect are potentially dangerous to national security. If Europe is bereaved by so many tragedies in the Mediterranean, it is precisely because of this European impotence. This is because the heart of the smugglers' business is based on this promise that if you manage to set foot in Europe illegally you have every chance of staying there forever. I am also outraged that the government hires a representative to go and find doctors for our hospitals on the African continent. But what incredible selfishness! Look in countries that need it for people trained to care for their neighbors! But what a cynical, utilitarian, materialist vision of the human person!

What sets you apart from Jordan Bardella?

In the European Parliament, we have never failed in our support for Ukraine or in our condemnation of Russian aggression. We truly believe in the defense of our democracies and take its demands seriously. Then, the National Rally (RN) maintains a vision anchored on the left on many subjects. He voted against pension reform, at the risk of endangering the balance of our pension system. And then, the RN inaugurates a sort of double of Macronism. After “At the same time left and right”, now the RN says: “Neither left nor right”.

Being head of the LR list, you are fighting a difficult fight. Is being the sacrificial lamb of the right of government enviable?

I don't think I'm the sacrificial lamb. We are experiencing a moment where politics is showing its worst side, a form of opportunism. Emmanuel Macron served as a cover for career calculations, which meant that people from everywhere were able to find pretexts to join the body of power. The RN does the same. Like many, I was approached by camps that seemed more favored by the polls. I remain where I am, because I believe that our duty is to rebuild a political life marked by constancy, clarity of convictions, fidelity to a commitment, from which only trust can be reborn. We need to find a real political divide in France between a left which assumes its convictions and a right which, with moderation and serenity, keeps the public debate alive. The promise of an end to divisions leaves a country, paradoxically, fractured like never before.

“The promise of an end to political divisions leaves the country fractured like never before. »

What separates the left from the right?

The left is anger, revolt, a desire to change the world, to correct injustices. The right is first and foremost a concern, a view of the world that sees what is good and deserves to be guaranteed for future generations. This worry is also a wonder: seeing the goods in our hands that are vulnerable and must be passed on. If it wants to be true to itself, the right must be environmentalist.

What does it mean today to be a politician with an assumed Catholicism?

I have never made my faith a standard. Paradoxically, the most important legacy of Christianity to Europe is the idea of ​​secularism, the distinction between the spiritual and the temporal. I care deeply about it. Peacefully assuming our roots, not only Christian, but also Greco-Latin, Judeo-Christian, our heritage of the Enlightenment, is to guarantee the unity of our societies at a time when, you were talking about the migration question, fractures do not exist. have never been bigger. Retelling this story does not, of course, require anyone to be Christian, but allows everyone to recognize that our institutions, our representations of the world do not come from nowhere. All this is not uprooted.

Bellamy's vision of Europe

That’s the paradox. In these times of electoral campaign, it is more difficult than ever to bring together the candidates in your newspaper. We wanted a debate between two experienced MEPs, two philosophers of the same generation, one from the left, Raphaël Glucksmann, the other from the right, François-Xavier Bellamy. But the first declined. We then opted for the principle of two joint interviews. Raphaël Glucksmann did not follow up. We regret it. This is why François-Xavier Bellamy finds himself alone this week in your pages.

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