THE FUTURE OF EUROPE: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN CITIZENS AND INSTITUTIONS
Interview with Abir Al-Sahlani, Member or Renew Europe’s delegation to the Conference on the Future of Europe
Abir Al-Sahlani (45) is a Swedish politician from Centerpartiet and has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament since 2019. She studied computer science at Stockholm University, and has a professional background in international development. Before taking up her seat in Brussels she was a Member of Parliament in Sweden and has worked extensively on reconstruction and democracy projects in her native Iraq.
Q: Why did you decide to take part in the Conference Plenary?
A: The EU still feels far away and complicated for citizens, companies, and even for political parties and government sometimes. In my political mission, I always try to focus on inclusion and accessibility and I feel it is important that I do what I can to bridge the gap between citizens and the European Parliament and other institutions.
Q: What topics will you be focusing on?
A: The rule of law, fundamental rights and migration are issues close to my heart that are also high on the political agenda right now. I will focus on these in the work I do as part of the Renew Europe Delegation to the Conference on the Future of the EU.
Q: How would you convince your constituents to take part?
A: By pointing to the many ways in which the EU has an impact on their everyday life and by showing them that their views matter.
Q: Renew Europe has initiated the idea of the Conference. What will be the Group’s priorities?
A: From the start our political family has set out to give European citizens a direct say on the Europe they want. So naturally, we want to listen to all the input our voters and supporters are giving us, and in the end their priorities will be our priorities. Let’s not forget this Conference is meant to be a unique and ground-breaking exercise in continental participative democracy!
Q: Why is this milestone so important in EU’s history?
A: This is the first time ever that the EU-institutions have started such a process and involved citizens from the start. In order for the EU to have a bright future, we must make sure that the EU is working for everyone, and everyone means all 500 million of us living across Europe.
Q: To you the Conference will be a success if…
A: …if we communicate in an open and accessible manner with our citizens and achieve a real debate about the EU — where citizens play an active role across all EU-countries.