Europa.blog: Do you see the corona crisis more as a threat to the EU or a challenge that can move the EU forward?
Charles Evain: The corona crisis is a real challenge for the EU, but it’s also an opportunity. Most if not all countries will suffer equally because of it and overcoming it together will enable the EU to gain strength through solidarity. The virus doesn’t care for national borders. As long as we don’t solve this issue by cooperating across borders, it will never cease to be a threat.
Europa.blog: Where, according to your assessment during the course of the crisis so far, are the EU’s greatest weaknesses?
Charles Evain: The reliance on the initiative of individual states is a big problem for the EU. This has led to the tendency for southern states to form coalitions and push for reform against the northern powerhouse’s reluctance. What the EU needs is a cohesive plan coming from Brussels which acknowledges both perspectives, we don’t have that right now.
Europa.blog: Volt is not offering ready-made solutions to these problems. As a new and especially young European party, what do you intend to do to counter these weaknesses?
Charles Evain: As a pan-European movement, the solutions we offer are broader by nature: we seek to solve Europe’s problems with European solutions rather than providing national answers. We each keep our own national perspective, but we do our best to find compromises.
Europa.blog: How exactly are you going to do that? Can you explain that a little bit more?
Charles Evain: Step by step, we hope to influence the way politics is done. Last year, our first MEP was elected. Our objective is to form our own group in the European Parliament for the next European elections in 2024. In the meantime, we push for change through Citizens Initiatives and by participating in local and national elections throughout Europe. During our campaigns we reach out to citizens and associations to gain more ideas and ensure that what we propose reflects their wants and needs as well as the scientific reality.
Europa.blog: How long should the ideas be collected and what happens to the ideas then?
Charles Evain: We never cease to collect ideas. Before campaigns we use them to form our programs, during our campaigns we use them to test what we’re saying, and after the campaigns we use them as a means of gaining a better understanding of how we could have done better. Democracy isn’t about asking voters what they think once every couple of years, it’s about having constant discussions within our communities. The ideas we collect are shared and promoted, and if other parties use them or if it can be implemented outside of classical politics, it’s also an achievement for us.
Europa.blog: Who can take part and where can committed people send their ideas and in which language?
Charles Evain: Anyone can participate in our local policy debates and our local meet-ups where we discuss many of these ideas. Ideas can be sent in any language to different chapters, luckily we have chapters in nearly all EU member states so any language will work!
Europa.blog: How do you plan to get the ideas to the political decision makers in the EU and to which ones exactly? Or are they not at all expensive main addressees?
Charles Evain: Damian Boeslager who is our MEP is a part of the Greens group, through him we can influence the Greens in the European parliament. We also hope to use ECI to push for change. Finally, simply by competing in the marketplace of ideas, we hope that other parties might get inspired by some of what we are proposing.
Interview: Jürgen Klute