IT’S TIME TO BEEF UP EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY
Interview with Nicola Beer, Member of Renew Europe’s delegation to the Conference on the Future of Europe
Nicola Beer (51) is a German lawyer and politician of the Freie Demokratische Partei (FDP) and has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament since 2019. Previously, between 2013 and 2019 she was Secretary General of the FDP, while while also being Member of the German Bundestag from 2017 to 2019. Following her election to the European Parliament, she has been serving as one of its Vice-Presidents; in this capacity, she is member of the EP’s Bureau.
Q: Why did you decide to take part in the Conference Plenary?
A: A change for the European Union, this was my ambition to run for the European Elections: to bring real change and a fresh approach to the Union and the way it works. To modernize it for the sake of our citizens. Europe makes us stronger all together and because I truly love Europe, I want to help making it fit for the future. I am a thoroughly convinced European and for me the sentence of the great German liberal, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, is more relevant than ever: “Our future is Europe - we have no other”. I would like to fill this premise with new life, new ideas. That is why I am in.
Q: Which topics will you be focusing on?
A: I strive for real change in the architecture of competencies and I believe, time has come to unfold the courage to beef up European democracy. We must succeed in shifting the balance of power to citizens and their direct representatives: with the right to initiate legislation for the European Parliament, with European suffrage and transnational lists. As the only democratically elected chamber, Parliament must become the first force in the ranks of EU institutions. We should also have the right to decide the question of the single seat itself.
Q: How would you convince your constituents to take part?
A: As a Member of Parliament, I have excellent and close contacts with the citizens of my constituency and my region. The constant exchange with them confirms that they want to have a say. During the electoral campaign in 2019 and now in the Corona crisis in particular, I have felt very much that citizens want to reform EU and finally want to actively do something themselves for that. Surveys confirm this, by the way. Here we as MEPs form the ideal bridgehead between the abstract EU in Brussels and a down-to-earth attitude. We are aware of of needs, worries, wishes, and the citizens know that too.
Q: Renew Europe has initiated the idea of the Conference. What will be the Group’s priorities?
A: A strong Europe of citizens, fit for a future that is up to all new challenges: With more courage for democracy; innovation and fair competition with cleverly tailored competencies. To ensure growth and prosperity, to bring the European economy out of the crisis stronger with futureproof jobs, sustainable in all fields for generations to come. Or to defend our values as an international player against autocratic regimes and to be a partner of strong civil societies.
Q: Why is this milestone so important in EU’s history?
A: Europe has been far too long in crisis mode, and not just since the Corona crisis. Europe has been running hot for more than a decade, with no directional decision. We risk getting at an dead end, the EU does not get any further: whether with migration, the completion of the internal market, being front runner in new technologies, a geopolitically foreign policy on equal terms with our systemic rival China, and oppressive regimes like Russia or Turkey - Europe has to become international decision-maker and for that we need reforms.
Q: To you, the Conference will be a success if…
A: ….if the Conference creates real reforms and does not just become a chat room.