Interview with Dita Charanzová, Member of Renew Europe’s delegation to the Conference on the Future of Europe
Dita Charanzová (46) is a Czech Member of the European Parliament. She graduated from the University of Economics in Prague and the Diplomatic School in Madrid. Since 2018, she is one of the Vice Presidents of the ALDE party. In 2019, she was re-elected as an MEP and elected as Vice President of the European Parliament. She is also the Renew coordinator in the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, and substitute member of the Committee on International Trade and the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age.
Q: Why did you decide to take part in the Conference Plenary?
A: This is truly a historic moment to really shape the Europe of tomorrow, and I want to get people involved. Let’s open up the Brussels bubble! It is time to put the power directly into the hands of our citizens, to hear what they have to say and what issues need to be on top of the agenda. Thousands of citizens from all over Europe will come to Strasbourg, Florence or Natolin, and it will be a thrilling and unprecedented democratic exercise. Now is the time to show that the decision-making is open to everybody, especially the younger generation.
Q: Which topics will you be focusing on?
A: Today, Europe needs to step up its efforts in the digital transformation. We need to be more ambitious and create the conditions for companies to grow in Europe. We have big goals when it comes to the climate transition, and I want the EU to have at least the same level of ambition on digital, which is also in fact going to play a big role in achieving our green aspirations.
We are also seeing changes when it comes to our trade policy and what citizens expect from our trade relations. Trade agreements are no longer just about liberalizing tariff lines, but importantly linked now to promoting our values, such as on human rights, labour rights and the environment. I am especially eager to engage more with citizens on their expectations and ideas here. We need to find the best way to get third countries on board with our green and other important objectives, while also ensuring better opportunities for our European businesses abroad, and especially SMEs. Having global trade opportunities is key to recovering more quickly from the pandemic recession.
Q: How would you convince your constituents to take part?
A: It is not Brussels deciding, it is you. Have your say on the future of Europe, now is your real chance.
Q: Renew Europe has initiated the idea of the Conference. What will be the Group’s priorities?
A: Renew Europe aims to build a stronger and more competitive post-Covid European economy, using especially the opportunities arising from the digital transformation and new technologies. But this cannot be done without removing all remaining obstacles on the Single Market. Achieving climate neutrality by the mid-century is also of course one of Renew’s biggest priorities. We want concrete actions, but also the necessary resources, to achieve this.
Q: Why is this milestone so important in EU’s history?
A: As an elected Member of the European Parliament, of course my work is to reflect the priorities of our citizens, defend these in Brussels and find solutions. But this conference is a different democratic exercise in that it is a unique chance to advance on the European project really from the bottom up, for citizens to have a direct say. This has never been done before, and I am excited to see the results.
Q: To you, the Conference will be a success if…
A: …we have concrete results to show for it, not just declarations but real and tangible changes. And if we inspire citizens to actively take part in the European project even after the Conference, and see even greater turnout in the next European elections!