The rise of extremism, taxing the Gafas, Europe’s place in the world… LREM deputy Stanislas Guerini covered these subjects and more when he sat down with Leaders League CEO Pierre Etienne Lorenceau.
Leaders League. What are your lessons from the European elections that just took place?
Stanislas Guerini. First of all, more people voted this time, and I think that’s very important because there was an important question asked to European people. Do they want to continue the European project or do they want to stop the European project? And they answered very clearly, ‘yes, we want to continue the European project’, this is a big victory for Europe. But people also said that they wanted change for Europe, they wanted a political project for Europe and to tackle issues that effect people’s lives, such as the environmental transition, social transition, immigration. These are the big issues in front of us and now people want results. This was why it was so important to have a new start with a new team for Europe. It’s what president Macron asked for and now we have it. We have two women at the head of two of the most important European institutions, which is very important as this will give us the power to change things in Europe.
Do you think it was a loss for Eurosceptics, because they had to forget about Brexit, Frexit, killing the euro, although they have gained visibility?
I can’t say, for France at least, that it was a loss for the Eurosceptics, because a party that wants to see the end of Europe, the Front Nationale, won the most seats. But I think the visibility of their project was less clear this time. My opinion is that their true project was Frexit, but because they considered that it was dangerous for them to carry this project, they didn’t tell the truth to the people. Maybe because of that the LREM we had a better score, because they didn’t carry their true project. But we need to continue this fight, and the only way to fight against populism, against extremists, is to have results for people. It was the lack of results that caused the rise of [extremism] these last years, and now we need, as I said, a political project for Europe and some results for Europe.
The body in the European parliament is now more complex, with four dominant parties, how did this effect the decision-making process for the top EU jobs?
It marked the end of a system where two groups took every decision and took every responsibility in the European parliament and took the top jobs. Now, nothing can be decided without consulting these four groups, including Renew Europe, the new group we created, which is central in the parliament. What are its first results? The first commitment we carried out during the campaign was to create a bank for climate. The theme of social transition was also very important for us. We said we wanted to create a minimum wage in Europe. Many laughed about this proposition during the campaign. [EC president] Ursula van der Leyen said she will carry this commitment during her mandate. Third, and this is very important in my opinion, to get out from this unanimity for tax, and take decisions on taxation. For example, we wanted to tax the Gafas, and this was not possible, because a few member states didn’t want to do that in Europe. Tomorrow, because we are able to get out of this unanimity in terms of fiscality, we will be able to carry this commitment. These are huge changes that Ursula van der Leyen carried, because our group proposed this, and she decided that it’s not possible to do it without us. I think these are big changes for European citizens, that’s why it’s important.
I believe Emmanuel Macron coined the term European Sovereignty. Obviously Trump, but also China, have been challenging European Sovereignty. What is your thinking about making Europe stronger, but also resolving the tension between Eastern Europe and Western Europe, between Northern Europe and Southern Europe?
We see the world we are living in and this world needs a strong Europe, because the US today, China also, have a certain vision of the world which is not multilateralism of president Macron. If we want to have importance in this world, we need to speak in a united way and we need to give Europe a phone number, so to speak! This is why we need stronger Europe, to give the world a more peaceful way to exchange, and give this great ideal of multilateralism some reality tomorrow.
That’s the ‘why’, but the question was also about how to achieve less tensions within Europe.
Of course, we need to unify the way we tackle big issues in Europe, and we have a very simple way to do this. Europe gives a lot of money to different countries and I believe we should make these transfers conditional on the respect for many principles, including democracy. We have the tools to do that. You know Jacques Delors said Europe is values on one hand and a screwdriver on the other, and I think this is a good image, and we need to be better on both aspects.
To read the French version of this interview, please click on the following link: