Jaume Duch: “No one will be safe if not in a European supranational framework”
The spokesman for the European Parliament debated with Plus Europe on its labour during the Second Plus Europe [Business] Forum.
The spokesman for the European Parliament, Jaume Duch i Guillot, the recent winner of the Best Speaker Award of the Journalists Association of Catalonia, answered the questions from Plus Europe as guest speaker at the Second Plus Europe [Business] Forum.
- The title of your speech is Introduction, challenges and opportunities of the new European Parliament 2014-2019. What can we expect from this new legislature?
The last legislature can be defined as the legislature of crisis. Both economically and politically. We can say that this legislature that begins will be the legislature of recovery and of reconnection with citizens. And given the composition of the new Parliament, it will certainly be a legislature of partnerships. From a legislative point of view, it will be the legislature of the PNR, of the European Taxation, of the debate on the FTA with the United States…
- After the Greek elections, we have seen how the composition of a single national parliament can affect an entire continent, above the will of the European Parliament itself. Are we living a new upsurge of nations? How can we transmit the message that plus Europe is needed?
I see it differently. The European Union has become an undeniable reality. European citizens share many things already. So what is decided in a country also affects everyone else.
- The results of the Greek elections have shown the strength of the far right in the countries most affected by the crisis. Is it possible to change the trust voters have in these parties? What is the role of the Parliament in this regard?
The European Parliament supports opposite values to those parties, but citizens have the last word. It is they who must be able to refuse dangerous siren songs.
- Another major challenge for Europe is its own security. What impact are having attacks of Charlie Hebdo in France? As a communicator, do you think we will see limits imposed to freedom of expression in the coming years?
Countries like France and Belgium have risen up security within its borders. But the public majority response has been clear, you can not put limits on freedom of expression. It is one of the deepest values that we the Europeans have and there is no reason or justification to change it.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]”Freedom of expression is one of the deepest values that we Europeans and there is no reason or justification to change it”[/su_pullquote]In last week’s Plenary session, the EP discussed new measures against terrorism, including a Passenger Registration System (PNR), the role of the European Police Office (Europol), improving the exchange of information, prevention of radicalization or the next European Agenda for Security. These are issues that will be closing in the next few months, because no one will be safe if not in a European supranational framework.
- The discussion about the reduction of headquarters of the European Parliament is almost permanently on the table. Do you think that such a decision could affect the visibility of the Parliament?
The debate is always open but not close to its closure because it depends on governments. In any case, if it came to that decision I do not think that it would affect the visibility of our work. It does no matter where decisions are made but what decisions are made. Having two locations complicates communication, but it does not make it impossible.
- They say that much of the national legislation comes from dictums of the European Parliament. Is the population aware of that? Why is it so hard to make people feel European?
[su_pullquote] “The process of electing the President of the European Commission has allowed European elections increasingly resemble a national process” [/su_pullquote] It is true that much of the national legislation comes from decisions made by the Parliament. Sometimes the public is not aware of it because of multiple causes: distance, complexity of the European institutions and also the treatment of the information by the media, sometimes little explanatory. However, I think that during last European elections, the process of choosing the President of the European Commission has allowed an increasing resemble with national process. And more and more people understand better what influence Brussels or Strasbourg have.
- Following the entry of Croatian MEPs to the European Parliament in 2013, what country would you be delighted to welcome soon in the Parliament?
The EU is open to all European countries. However, to join the EU, the applicant country must respect certain principles common to all Member States and on which the EU is founded: freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.
Right now there are 6 countries which are official candidates: Albania, Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Iceland.
For the European Parliament it would be a pleasure to welcome all of them once they have conducted the negotiations between the parties, necessary reforms have been made and all Member States of the European Union give their approval. However, it is clear that we have to wait a few years for it.