Thalia Ntoka held an interview with Beatriz Becerra MEP, discussing several topical questions.
Why did you become a Politician? What does the ALDE Party mean to you?
The main drive which got me into politics happened in 2004. After the Jihadist attacks in Madrid, which caused trauma and great division in my country. For me, politics is living in harmony and having freedom and equality as core values.
For me, ALDE is the future of Europe. Against the populist, interventionist and nationalistic rhetoric, ALDE represents the faith in the citizens and the great potential of Europeans. The rest of the world sees the EU as place of freedom, rights and democracy, and that is precisely what ALDE represents.
How does it feel to be a woman MEP? Is gender equality one of the European Union’s founding values?
I feel this is the moment for women in the European Parliament, although we are partly lacking the weight we deserve. Equality is a fundamental value of the EU, and to achieve our equality goals, gender equality must be very present.
Describe your daily routine as a MEP.
One of the best and worse things about being a MEP is that there are no two days alike. In general, I can say I wake up very early, I read media and prepare a response for the day ahead before I leave the house, I have a great number of meetings with my team, other MEPs and with civil society and I use a lot of my time reading and working on European Parliament ongoing initiatives. Sometimes the day starts in a country and finishes in a different one, sometimes a different continent.
What is your opinion on Brexit? Do you think we should have tried more to convince the United Kingdom to stay in our family?
Brexit has been a hard blow, but I will not blame anyone except for the populist leaders who have misguided so many citizens. I don’t think the EU can be criticised on this. I wish to avoid major damage and leave a door open for the United Kingdom coming back to Europe, one day.
Do you agree with a multi-speed Europe? Is it utopian that everyone can move forward with the same timing? (Take for example Germany and Greece).
I believe Union means Union. I believe that all citizens are equal and share a common political ground, and that translates into a single Europe. However, I also understand the need of being practical in politics, and that the countries which want to go forward should not be held back by others that don’t.
In a nutshell, I hope that with dialogue and common sense, the 27 will be able to move forward in the direction, that in the end, we all know we must follow.
Last year Brussels has been on lockdown as ‘terror police’ swoop in on several streets. How did you feel and what is your message against terrorism?
Understanding and respecting security measures taken by the authorities is essential. Police forces and intelligence services must feel our support: their work is fundamental for our safety and they risk their lives daily. We cannot let terrorists divide us or make us doubt. Our work must serve also to improve our external and security policies, to create a real European intelligence service and anti-radicalisation programmes, an area in which I am very active.
What do you think is your biggest achievement so far as a MEP and what would be your advice to all young people who want to get more involved into politics?
What I like about the Parliament is that both success and failure are mostly shared. It’s a place of dialogue and consensus. I am very proud of having reached agreements with colleagues from other political groups with whom we have profound ideological differences. If I had to choose one, it would probably be when last year Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar won the Sakharov Prize. I proposed Nadia for the prize and I was there for her all along the difficult path. She is an extraordinary woman and an example for everyone that fights against the savagery of Jihadi terrorism.
She has overcome her status of victim and has become a determined agent of change. This is the spirit of the involvement into politics I would advise to young people: choose a goal and become a driver to transform society.
Beatriz Becerra is a Member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. She is Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights. She also has an Executive MBA and 20 years professional experience in private sector as marketing, sales & communication executive management. She is the author of three novels.