In the run-up to the European elections, Good Morning Europe host Belle Donati is travelling across the continent to meet Members of the European Parliament in their own constituencies. She's grabbing breakfast with them to talk about how they take their coffee - and how they want to change Europe.
In this instalment, she speaks with Spanish MEP, Ernest Urtasun who is member of the Greens/European Free Alliance.
If we imagine a voter, who just wants to understand what does my MEP do for me ... is there an answer to that question?
This is a country that has suffered from austerity and cutbacks a lot. [...] so the best way to reconnect the European project to citizens, particularly in countries like this, is to connect their social needs to the European Union. This link does not exist at the moment. People have perceived the EU as a promoter of austerity, but nothing else.
In my opinion, our work is to defend the common interest of Europeans and this is very difficult to do if you are only thinking of what's good or bad for your country - you need to be thinking of what is good or bad for the whole European project. I feel more comfortable working hand in hand with my Green and leftist colleagues in the European parliament than with a Spanish right-winger with whom I have very little in common.
The far right is, at the moment, projected to make extraordinary gains in the European Parliament..
I negotiate with everybody except for with the far right. For me they should be out of the game. [...] I'm not ready to start discussing whether gender violence exists or not. Which is what the far right is doing in Spain. I'm not ready to be in committees openly discussing whether it does exist or not – everybody knows it exists and we need to fight against gender based violence.
How optimistic are you, going into these elections?
Well, of course, we have this big threat, which is the emergence of the far right. But I think it would be a mistake for us to campaign on the basis that we need to go against the far right. So, from here to the elections we need to create a credible future for the European project that people can believe in.
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