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Euronews talks Europe with French Presidential hopeful Bayrou

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Euronews talks Europe with French Presidential hopeful Bayrou

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Francois Bayrou has been the surprise package of the French presidential campaign. Considered as the ‘third man’, he has now crept up on the two main contenders Royal and Sarkozy with up to 24 percent in the latest polls. Part of the centrist candidate’s agenda is to put France back at the heart of European institutions. He talked exclusively to Euronews about the vision of Europe he wants to promote.

Euronews:
Mr. Bayrou, welcome to Euronews. Firstly, how do you think the European Union in its current state can overcome the crises of the French and Dutch ‘No’ votes for the European Constitutional treaty?

Bayrou:
“That’s exactly where we are today, with two countries that said ‘No’, 18 that said ‘Yes’ and others, notably Britain who are happy with the situation because it means they don’t have to ask the question. So for me it’s simple. If I look at what happened in France, the French said ‘No’ because the text was unreadable, incomprehensible, too wordy. It was a legal text rather than a founding text for EU citizens. So we need a shorter text, a readable one that everyone can understand, which keeps the basic, principle points. It must have one clear aim: to empower the citizens and the people of the European Union.”

Euronews:
You talk about a short, concise text but the need for compromise makes it so complex…

Bayrou:
“We now live in an age, largely due to the internet, where the citizens demand to understand. Before, there were institutions for the politically experienced, for diplomats, for technocrats. People with their own rules and their own way of seeing things, their own language and habits. Now people want to understand and they know it’s their destiny at stake. And they demand simple language, a form of expression which gives them the information and the power. And this movement is irreversible. And I would like to carry it forward.”

Euronews:
Doesn’t a shorter treaty mean a mini-treaty?

Bayrou:
“No, I can’t stand the expression ‘mini’, because is doesn’t apply to Europe. Europe isn’t meant to be ‘mini’. It’s meant to be important and grand. Because if Europe serves a purpose, it’s to have an influence on the world’s future.”

Euronews:
Don’t you think this Europe you’re talking about would need a bigger budget?

Bayrou:
“One day that issue will be dealt with, but it shouldn’t be treated as part of the question of institutions. There must be a guarantee to all the citizens, and that is that the institutions- the fundamental law, the Constitution, call it what you want- guarantees the people that no decision will be made unless it’s they who make it; that nothing is imposed on them. It’s part of the promise that they will be able to have their say and decide together.”

Euronews:
It’s often said in Brussels, and indeed in Paris, that France has lost alot of power in European institutions. Do you believe this is a problem for France and that Europe is suffering from France’s slow-down?

Bayrou:
“I don’t think France has played its role. I don’t want to cause a storm but France just hasn’t played its part for decades. It has been distant. Perhaps because it hasn’t believed in Europe enough.”

Euronews:
Mr. Bayrou do you think you’ll be France’s next President?

Bayrou:
“Yes, I think so.”