N-VA opts for “New Way” for Europe

24 April 2019

“The European Union must work together when doing so offers added value. But we don’t want a United States of Europe. The power of the unity of Europe lies in its diversity of member states and federal states.” European leading candidate Geert Bourgeois today set out the cornerstones of the N-VA’s European election programme. The party is opting for a New Way, between the uncritical Europhile belief in a European superstate and the Eurosceptic forces that wish to destroy the EU.

The N-VA wants to keep its finger on the European pulse with a positive attitude and a critical eye. “The future of Flanders is inseparably linked with the European Union. We must safeguard that European cooperation, but with the necessary dose of realism. Europe must protect its borders and its citizens alike. Europe must create jobs and strengthen the economy within a clearly-delineated framework, and with a strong euro currency,” says leading candidate Geert Bourgeois.

Unity in diversity

Citizens, no matter which member state they are in, must be able to recognise themselves in the European Union. But the EU must also recognise that diversity: different economic and cultural realities require tailor-made solutions, not excessive regulatory pressure and ever-expanding legislation. Legislation and policy have to be developed as closely as possible to the citizen. Member states must be able to choose what they want to do within a European cooperative framework, not because they have to, but because they want to. “If that cooperation can offer demonstrable added value, if the challenges are shared and if there are clear advantages of scale,” explains Johan Van Overtveldt, third on the European list.

Strengthening the internal market

“The internal EU market is the economic artery of our prosperity,” Johan Van Overtveldt continued. “That is the real power of the EU. For that reason, the internal market must once again be at the heart of European policy.” But to do so the European banking sector must reduce its risks further. This is an essential condition for completing the banking union successfully. Johan Van Overtveldt also advocates in this respect a European deposit guarantee, even though “that will not yet be something in place tomorrow”.

Fight against ivory towers

Assita Kanko is in the second position on the list of candidates. She sees her candidacy on the European list as a fight between the street and the ivory towers. “Too many European leaders do not believe in the European identity, in the values of the Enlightenment. They cherish the belief that they are always right and call anyone who contradicts them a racist, a populist or a climate change denier. The EU may not become a political graveyard, as is the case now for some politicians,” the women’s rights activist said.

Support for the Catalan Oriol Junqueras

Current MEP Mark Demesmaeker, fourth on the European list in May, expressed his explicit support for former Vice President of Catalonia Oriol Junqueras as candidate Commission President. Oriol Junqueras has already been in prison for 538 days for his part in the Catalan independence referendum in 2017. “Oriol symbolises the real Catalan drama, which is also an EU problem. The European Union may no longer turn a blind eye when the fundamental rights of citizens are trampled upon. Europe’s motto of ‘unity in diversity’ is not just an empty slogan. We have to put it into practice and defend it,” Mark Demesmaeker concluded.

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