“France missed its date with History on February 24, 2022”

“France missed its date with History on February 24, 2022”

Your job

What was your greatest pride as a European parliamentarian?

Having succeeded in offering a double legislative outlet to the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of young French and Europeans against the enslavement of Uyghurs and the impunity of multinationals: the regulation aimed at banning the products of forced labor on the European market and the directive establishing a duty of vigilance for companies that we have supported with my group. These two pieces of legislation form the beginnings of a major legal revolution aimed at putting an end to the pyramid of irresponsibility that is this deregulated globalization which today allows multinationals to violate human rights and destroy the environment in complete freedom. impunity. I would also like to mention the establishment, at my request, in 2019, of the special commission on interference, which I chaired for three years and which notably raised the alarm on the hybrid war led by Putin's Russia against our democracies.

What was your biggest disappointment as an elected member of Parliament?

The limited nature of the changes adopted following the so-called “Qatargate” corruption affair, despite the requests made by our special committee and, in general, the timid aspect of the reforms undertaken in Europe to make our democracies more honest and more strong, both in the face of external attacks from authoritarian regimes and in the face of internal pressure from large private interests.

What is the first measure you would like to see voted on if you are elected?

One objective: to make the ecological transition a major project for the reindustrialization of Europe, with in particular three measures: a massive European fund in green industries, the establishment of a Buy European Act reserving public markets as a priority for production European taxes and the creation of the European tax on high wealth that we support with my colleague Aurore Lalucq and other European social democrats to finance a just transition.

Do you speak one or more foreign languages ​​fluently? If so why?

I speak English fluently, and it is fortunate to be able to express myself in this working language during discussions and negotiations with my colleagues in Strasbourg and Brussels. I also speak Italian and German, but my level is not great (especially in German!). But, more generally, the language of Parliament is translation – the translation teams do an incredible job – and it is an extraordinary experience to see democracy expressed in all these languages!

Your campaign

What is Europe's main challenge today?

Become an adult! The war that is shaking the continent and the prospect of finding ourselves alone in the face of this war if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States on November 5 is truly dizzying! Europe will have to ensure its own defense, become an autonomous political and security actor, once again become a continent of producers (of security, energy and goods in all strategic sectors).

Designate your main opponent from among the other heads of the list.

Jordan Bardella and the National Rally without a doubt. Emmanuel Macron and his communicators wanted to reestablish the eternal duel between those in power and the far right, but we hope to upset their plans and show that we are the real alternative.

Given her record, does Ursula von der Leyen deserve to be reappointed?

No, the European right of the EPP must give up power after two decades of domination! This commission has enabled major progress such as the Green Deal or the establishment of trade defense instruments, but Ursula von der Leyen will not bring about the social and ecological shift that Europe needs. We need a new presidency that embodies the vision of a more powerful, fairer, more ecological Europe. Nicolas Schmit, the candidate of our social democratic family, carried out major progressive reforms as commissioner, such as the directive on platform workers which gives rights to millions of European workers hitherto deprived of straight ahead. He will, I am convinced, be an excellent President of the European Commission if we manage to become the leading force in the European Parliament.

Compared to the last elections in 2019, would you say that France has gained or lost influence within the EU?

I don't know if it gained or lost influence honestly, but what I know is that France missed its date with History on February 24, 2022. Our nation should have taken the lead from the front of European resistance to Putin's war. Unfortunately, she did not do so. And, despite lyrical speeches on Europe, Emmanuel Macron obstructed numerous texts which allowed him to progress. As soon as a reform calls into question powerful private interests to assert the general European interest, the star-studded blue flags of the meetings are put back in their pockets and the French government acts as a sales representative for large private groups, such as on banking regulation or the directive on platform workers (France is the only country to have voted against!). The result is a strong dissonance between words and actions. The result is that confidence in the words of our leaders has been eroded and we will have to restore it!

Should the EU welcome Ukraine? (if yes, when)

Yes: Ukraine's future is within the European Union. To do this, Ukraine and the other candidate countries must undertake all the necessary reforms to meet the criteria, particularly in terms of the rule of law, and absorb the Community acquis. It will take time. Furthermore, the enlargement of the Union must go hand in hand with its deepening, significant reforms of its institutions (end of unanimity in particular) and several of its structural policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). But we had to make these reforms anyway! We are going to work on an enlargement treaty which is also a treaty for deepening European construction with the objective of 2030.

Does Frontex really protect our borders?

Frontex's mission is to support the management of the EU's external borders and to ensure security and the fight against cross-border crime. The European border guards and coast guards intervene in support of the national authorities of countries bordering the European Union. In this sense, they are an important support. The idea of ​​Frontex is necessary, but its operation poses more problems, between the dysfunctions and departures from the legal framework of its former management. Let us remember, however, that Frontex is not in charge of implementing the EU's migration policy. And it is a common and coordinated migration policy that we need.

What priority measure in the European framework to save French farmers?

The priority is the reform of the CAP, which represents 1/3 of the European budget. By basing subsidies on per hectare and production, the current CAP is unfair, it rewards the largest operators and does not really encourage virtuous practices for the environment. 80% of subsidies go to 20% of farms. We must put in place a common agricultural and food policy basing subsidies on employment and taking charge of the entire chain. Working towards a fair, equitable CAP that promotes employment and environmental protection and allows farmers to live with dignity from their work will be one of the absolute priorities of the next mandate.

What is the first ecological emergency in the EU?

The exit from fossil fuels, the deployment of renewables and the relocation of our production. The energy transition must be the main project. We must increase energy savings tenfold, in particular through a massive wave of energy renovation of homes, which will reduce our consumption and our bills. And we must invest massively in the development of renewable energies and electricity networks in order to power the entire continent.

Europe has three to five years to prepare for a military attack from Russia“, declared Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on January 15. What do you think?

We have to prepare, yes. But if we support Ukraine much more, if we do what needs to be done now, Putin may lose. On the other hand, if we do not provide Ukraine with the means to defeat Putin's Russia, this prophecy will come true. In case of victory, Russia will not stop there. Ms. Kallas's Poland or Estonia are the next countries on the list. And today we do not have the capacity to defend ourselves and ensure our security alone. This is why it is urgent to invest in our European defense industry and to develop our production capacities. We must create a real internal defense market by fighting against fragmentation, encouraging cooperation and joint arms projects. And above all, we must stop procrastinating in helping the Ukrainian resistance. It all depends on us.

Your sensitivity

What European landscape do you have in your heart?

The Acropolis, undoubtedly. A view of Athens and its ruins which mark the beginning of the great European democratic quest.

What work of art embodies the European spirit for you?

Guernica, by Picasso. Both the absolute horror which is painted and against which the European project was built and the gesture of resistance of the artist who paints it and denounces it by painting it. Let us never forget from what ashes and what spirit of resistance was born what is in my eyes the greatest political adventure of our time: European construction.

Which European leader would you like to have a drink with?

You gave me the idea of ​​the Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, arguably the strongest voice among European leaders since February 24, 2022.

For you, does Europe have Christian roots?

A Christian heritage obviously (and I feel myself the heir when I travel through Europe), but not only. Our identity is multiple. The European Union is a secular political project which is part of European history and is experienced as the culmination of everything that precedes it and leads to it. The preamble to the Treaty states that the Union is established in “s'inspiring the cultural, religious and humanist heritage of Europe, from which developed the universal values ​​of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, as well as freedom, democracy, equality and the State by right”. There is no point in introducing more references to roots in such a text.

Who would you choose to appear on the next 20 euro note?

Louise Weiss, maybe. She is an extraordinary woman who has worked a lot for Europe. She first became involved in the 1930s for women's rights, and in particular their right to vote. After saving political opponents and Jews during the Second World War, and joining the Resistance, she was elected to the European Parliament in 1979 and constantly called on all Europeans to unite on the basis of a common culture and not just shared economic interests. Or Vaclav Havel, writer, dissident and then Czech president, great figure of European humanism and of a Central Europe which was captive for so long.

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