“I would like Greta Thunberg to appear on the next 20 euro note”

“I would like Greta Thunberg to appear on the next 20 euro note”

Your job

What was your greatest pride as a European parliamentarian?

Definitively: the condemnation of crimes against the environment, the inclusion in European law of the crime of ecocide! This is a victory of which I am all the more proud as it is unexpected: this ambition did not appear in the program of the European Commission's Green Deal and the term ecocide was, when I arrived at the European Parliament in May 2019 , almost unknown. With determination, I brought together parliamentarians from Europe and around the world to build an international Alliance that has tirelessly promoted the condemnation of the most serious crimes against the environment. It was also an issue of social justice, because the most vulnerable are always the most exposed to attacks on nature – and therefore on their living environments and their health. We were able to convince, helped by Ukraine which seeks to hold Vladimir Putin accountable for the crimes he committed on its territory. We must now take the battle to the level of the International Criminal Court. I am committed to it.

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

I am not disappointed, I am combative and determined to continue and even accelerate the ecological transition of our continent. Climate disruption is intensifying, Europe and particularly France are already suffering the consequences: impacts on agriculture, loss of homes due to marine erosion or flooding, water shortages, heatwaves hitting the most vulnerable… The Green Deal is threatened by attacks from right-wing political forces, increasingly influenced by the far right, who oppose any legislation in favor of the climate and the preservation of nature. The economy is the mother of all battles. Taking it back in hand, transforming it to re-embed it within planetary limits and protecting human and social rights is imperative if we want a Europe that protects citizens and nature. This is what is at stake in the election on June 9.

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

We must act in two directions: raise our climate and environmental objectives to return to planetary limits, and guarantee a transformation of the European economy so that no one lives in poverty. This is the purpose of the Just Transition Pact that we support. To this end, I propose in particular a right of social veto, so that no measure affecting the living conditions of the poorest 10% of Europeans can be adopted. The fight against poverty and social injustice would thus become the backbone of European action which would finally respect the limits of the planet.

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

I am lucky enough to speak English and Spanish. However, this should not be essential to sit in the European Parliament: if we want everyone to be able to access democratic responsibilities, then we must overcome the language barrier. I salute the work of the translators of Parliament and the European Union.

Your campaign

What is Europe's main challenge today?

Europe's main challenge today lies in its response to the climate challenge. Despite the Paris agreement, the world is heading towards a warming of +3 degrees, endangering the habitability of the planet. Europe must act to remain competitive against other powers, such as the United States and China, which are investing massively in the ecological transition. However, current policies risk compromising this transition, particularly with the reintroduction of the Fiscal Stability Pact, hindering necessary investments. To meet this challenge, it is imperative to transform the European economy, to invest massively in the ecological transition, to promote green protectionism, to regulate the activities of companies and banks, and to place respect for nature and social justice at the heart of European policies. I want Europe to be world champion in the energy and ecological transition, while remaining a democratic model and guaranteeing social justice. It's possible, but it requires a change of model and investment.

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

My enemy is the far right. They systematically vote against the environment, against the most precarious… when they vote, when they do not embezzle money. The worldview of ecologists is that of an open world, of a pluralistic society, which recognizes and respects the differences of each person; a world where solidarity and fraternity are valued. This is what I put on the campaign posters: Justice, Peace, Ecology.

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

I am not going to speak out for the European citizens who are called to vote from June 6 to 9. We, the environmentalists, have our leading candidates: Bas Eikchout and Terry Reintke. It is they who I consider capable of taking over the presidency of the Commission and pursuing a resolutely ecological policy.

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

I would say that's not the problem. In Parliament, I work with deputies from all the countries of the Union, it is with them that I build majorities, this is how I managed to push through the recognition of ecocide . Defending France's influence means, I am deeply convinced, defending a solid France in a powerful Europe because it is united, determined in its desire to defend ecology and work for peace in the world.

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

Of course. If the Ukrainian people wish to join the Union, they are welcome, subject to the rules of membership. The accession process is long and requires respecting several criteria, first and foremost that of not being at war. There will also be a reconstruction phase which is also an opportunity for an ecological and social transition. As for the deadline, I obviously hope that Ukraine regains peace as quickly as possible to put an end to the suffering of its people. This is why we must continue to support Ukraine, by all possible means, with strength and conviction and above all, as Europeans.

Does Frontex really protect our borders?

Protect our borders from what? Of death? In this case Frontex is doing a very bad job. Frontex failed to report risks of shipwrecks or collaborated with the Libyan coast guard to illegally bring boats back to Libya. So no, Frontex does not protect our borders. It militarizes them, makes them even more risky. Without any effectiveness, we cannot prevent someone from leaving when they have no choice. With all environmentalists, we want Europe to take responsibility for rescue at sea; the guarantee of human lives cannot rely solely on the mobilization of associations like SOS Méditerranée.

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

We, ecologists, have been criticizing for years the common agricultural policy which destroys farmers and landscapes, and encourages destructive practices of people and nature. We propose to put in place a new agricultural pact which subsidizes jobs rather than hectares. We know that to develop agricultural practices that respect humans and the environment, agronomic practices are effective (crop diversification, rotation, hedges and ditches, etc.). To implement them, we need more workers on farms. We must give ourselves the means to produce in Europe what we need to ensure greater food autonomy. This will also allow our commercial partners to move away from a monoculture or specialization of their agriculture which is harmful to their own food sovereignty.

What is the first ecological emergency in the EU?

There isn't just one unfortunately. The Earth is a system, every aspect of which is important. This is the idea of ​​planetary boundaries. Scientists have identified nine and shown that six are already exceeded, that is to say that we are already beyond what the Earth can handle. The major processes that condition and regulate life on Earth are at risk of spiraling out of control. So the ecological emergency is to act on the entire system. This is why, with the ecologists, we want to put the principle of the environmental ceiling and the social floor at the heart of the Union treaties.

“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?

States have been dragging their feet for years on the establishment of a real common foreign, security and defense policy. It is through this continuum, integrated at the European level, that we will be able to dissuade Putin from attacking Europe. In any case, we will only know peace when Russia becomes a democracy.

Your sensitivity

What European landscape do you have in your heart?

The landscapes of my home, in Aquitaine. Between the ocean and pine forests with the Bordeaux vineyards in the background. How can you not fall under the spell of the blond stone houses, the sand dunes and the vast horizon of the ocean?

What work of art embodies the European spirit for you?

Arcimboldo's portraits which from diversity form a unity. They symbolize the motto of the Union, united in diversity.

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

With Ursula van der Leyen to understand why she has done so little on social and environmental issues and to convince her to integrate these two dimensions into the next European policies.

For you, does Europe have Christian roots?

The Pope called on us not to let humanity sink into the Mediterranean. I am not part of a political family that demands a Christian Europe and I do not carry my beliefs as a standard as Jacques Delors said. But if some claim that Europe is a great Christian civilization that must be preserved, then we must listen a little more to the Pope's words when he calls us to help these people in the Mediterranean.

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

Greta Thunberg. This young woman succeeded in launching a European and global mobilization. He is a figure of youth, tenacity and the accuracy of a fight for the future.

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