How does Europe benefit your city on a daily basis?
Located in a border region of three European countries and at the intersection of major traffic axes, Maizières-les-Metz is a crossroads city, naturally open to Europe. Europe strengthens the dynamism and the economic development of our territory by the freedoms offered with regard to the circulation of the goods and the people but also, more concretely, by the accompaniment of certain investments of the communities. Thereby, since 2001, the ERDF has contributed € 3,260,000 to municipal projects in a wide range of areas such as sports, music, digital and ecology. Europe also promotes cultural exchanges by promoting the idea of European belonging. In this way, municipalities create privileged links through their twinning actions, young people have the opportunity to meet each other and European citizens bring, through their vote and their involvement, a contribution to the municipal debate.
As a local elected representative, what are your expectations of the European institutions?
More than ever, the European institutions must meet the ultimate physical challenge; the challenge of reconnecting with the citizens. Robert Schuman, a statesman and a great Moslem elect, believed that Europe would be achieved by concrete achievements. It’s still a necessity today. We need a political vision expressed forcefully, like the messages that General de Gaulle has carried. Solidarity between European peoples requires permanent work. The populist wind that crosses our continent shows that nothing is ever acquired. People forget. To re-establish this bond of trust, the European institutions must demonstrate that they protect and respect Europeans in their diversity and identity, that they bring progress and that they are open to the world without being naive.
Why must European funds be saved for all regions?
While Brussels is considering budget cuts under Brexit, it now seems essential to mobilize for the preservation of European funds. Indeed, we face a high risk of fragmentation of territories. This is why all regions must be able to be eligible for cohesion policy. It must evolve and be renewed to be simpler and more effective in a narrowed scope. In this respect, the credit consumption rules managed by the new French regions require more flexibility and harmonization. The post-2020 European budget must match the European ambition and allow the continuation of these policies with strong territorial impact and the amplification of their added value. The Europe of proximity is the only one that works; it must anchor itself in the territories and give itself the means to be visible, perceptible, and alive. Many regional projects would not have been possible without the help of European funds. It would therefore be particularly detrimental to regard cohesion policy as a simple adjustment variable for the construction of Europe.