EU Parliament President Metsola calls for more commitment against the radicalization of the fringes, an agreement on migration and the preservation of Schengen.
Die Presse: The next European elections will take place in a year. What would be the consequences for your house if nationalist and EU-critical parties made further gains?
Roberta Metsola: If we’ve learned anything in this legislature, it’s that we need to look for majorities in the center. Even during the pandemic, only the center recognized the solutions that a common Europe needed. She went against the instinct of some member states to close their borders immediately. She realized that restoring stability was the only way for the economy to get through this. And this was also about an appropriate reaction to the war. We soon managed to put together eleven packages of sanctions, we accepted Ukraine and Moldova as candidate countries. It seemed impossible before to achieve all this together. In the future it is a matter of maintaining this. It also means that when there is a strengthening of the extremes on both sides, the political center becomes more important than ever.
Where do you see the reason for this radicalization and the increasing gap in society, but also in politics?
If we just ignore the narrative of populists and their simple answers, if we assume that the middle will hold anyway, we lose young, frustrated voters who are isolated in rural areas or feel left behind in urban areas , and believe that Europe does not take them into account. I want to work against that. I want to listen, but also offer solutions.
If you believe that the center is so important, how do you feel about attempts by the leadership of your family of parties, the European People’s Party, to integrate more or less moderate political groups from the right fringe?
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