'A lack of EU policies' causes populism — Verhofstadt

'A lack of EU policies' causes populism — Verhofstadt
By Euronews
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Raw Questions saw Liberal lead candidate for the EU top job Guy Verhofstadt take the hot seat. He faced questions over his EU convictions, Brexit, the climate, and whether he preferred wine over beer.


It was the turn of the Liberal lead candidate (ALDE) for the EU top job Guy Verhofstadt to take the hot seat on Raw Questions.

A staunch federalist, he defended his ideas on more Europe.

"(The) United States of Europe is a way to organise common action on the European level by recognising, by guaranteeing the autonomy of member state. 

"I'm against a European superstate, I don't want a system where everything is decided by Brussels here next door at the European Commission."

The former Belgian prime minister said the rise of populism was down to European failures — specifically when it came to crises, like migration: "It's because of a lack of EU policies. There is no EU border coast guard. There is no common European asylum system.

"There is thirdly not a European economic migration system giving people the possibility to come to Europe in a legal way. 

"My first priority (is) to tackle the tragedies in the Mediterranean by establishing these three building blocks."

And on green ambitions, a question from a youth climate strike leader Anuna De Wever about what the Liberals would do to fight the climate crisis.

"The first is to (make) climate change a condition to make deals with Europe... In negotiations with China and America, we have to use that weight, to say to Trump, if you want a free trade agreement then you have to sign up to (the) Paris agreement."

And the Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament, Verhofstadt, believes his Liberal allies in Britain will have a decisive role.

"What I think will happen is a big fight in these elections, and I never was in favour of these elections, a big fight between on the one hand the Brexit party, and on the other hand the Liberal Democrat party as the most pro-European party in Britain, let's see what will happen, that's democracy."

In a final nod to his pro-EU personality, when asked whether he preferred wine over beer, a European choice won over the national tipple of his native Belgium.

"I think that wine in Europe is civilisation — it has been in the whole of the Roman Empire — wine-drinking countries."

Tuesday is the turn of the European Conservatives and Reformist candidate, Jan Zahradil. Tune in from 21 pm CEST.

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