I cannot accept that member states that are outside the Eurozone would forbid Eurozone members to fix the crisis

Vendredi 3 mars 2017

Emission Euranet +

The European Union’s future stays under the influence of rising right-wing parties. Biggest challenges such as migration, Brexit or trade agreements give ammunition to Europhobe voices all over the continent.

During the last Euranet Plus “U Talking to Me?” talk show, MEPs Pervenche Berès (S&D), Elmar Brok (EPP) and Sven Giegold (Greens) were invited to debate about the main threats the continent is facing while trying to reshape the European integration project.

Regarding to migration, European solidarity did not work out despite numerous calls from Brussels reminding member states to comply with the engagements they took within the so-called relocation scheme.

Stavros Samouilidis from Skaï Radio in Athens asked how long the EU will let member states refuse to help countries like Greece and Italy which still take in the majority of refugees.

“Sanctions are not a solution,” Elmar Brok said. “We should find other fair mechanisms.” In case Eastern EU countries are not ready to accept migrants within the scheme, they will have to show solidarity in another way, Brok added.

In his view contributing more to the European coast guards could be an option.

“One big problem of the EU is that member states take decisions that afterwards are not implemented,” German MEP Sven Giegold said. Giegold also pleaded for “a sort of compensation,” but stayed opposed to freeze EU funds for reluctant member states.

My country first

The Brexit is in everybody’s mind at a time when politicians struggle to relaunch the EU with 27 members.

But the Brexit shows a disenchantment for Europe with a growing numbers of EU citizens, which concede having lost interest for the European project often seen as too complicated.

“If you speak about a European project, which is only about internal markets and without social standards, then there is no dream in it,” French MEP Pervenche Berès said.

She added that considering “the mess” which followed the result of the British referendum, “there is no simple solution outside the EU.”

Brok thinks that Germany has the same debate as many other European countries. “Seventy years after the end of the war, people say again: My country first […] We have to understand each other. But I fear that the British don’t want to understand our interests.”

Controversial trade agreements

“We need a new agenda for trade which includes the concerns of EU citizens regarding the EU-Canada trade agreement [CETA] and strong social or environmental standards,” Giegold answered to Claudia Knoppke from German Euranet Plus member ams, who had underlined the gap between public concerns and the line followed by EU Commission.

Underlining an obvious divergence between the Greens and the centre-right groups at the European Parliament, Brok regretted that the Greens have been successful in giving “wrong information” to citizens since, according to him, the agreement will not destroy any standards within the European Union.

Avant-garde solution

The EU Commission this week presented a White Paper on the future of Europe. This move followed reports of the Parliament voted last month in Strasbourg.

One is focusing on a two-speed Europe with Eurozone countries which might move faster with a common budget and a Eurozone finance minister.

“After the Brexit my dream is not to divide Europe,” Berès, who drafted the report, said. “But I cannot accept that member states that are outside the Eurozone would forbid Eurozone members to fix the crisis.”

Joachim Ciecierski from Polskie Radio asked the EU politicians about the risk that a two-speed Europe could damage trust in countries like Poland, where people are still overwhelmingly pro-EU.

Brok pointed out that former EU Commission President Jacques Delors once said that a two-speed Europe is the “avant-garde solution, not the dividing one. It brings things forward while other countries can join. Otherwise we always have to wait for the last train.”

Green MEP Giegold thinks that the political pressure created both by the Brexit and the new US administration will eventually help to reunite Europe.

“This project of integrating the continent is the right one, but we have to do it in a democratic way,” Giegold said.
◦Authors: Daniele Weber, Jean Michel Bos, Euranet Plus News Agency