tv Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on European Parliament Election CSPAN May 31, 2019 2:33pm-3:56pm EDT
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>> welcome to carnegie. i run the program at carnegie. i am delighted that you decided to weather the rain in washington this morning. it shows your interest in the european parliament elections. one of the things that has been striking to me is the interest in this year's elections. it is quite unusual. i think it has to do with some of the lead-up to this parliament election. people very much expressing this referendum on the future of europe, people predicted a surge of far right populists. now, the results from last week are in. what were the main results and how should we interpret them? what will be the immediate but also the long-term impacts for the future of european decision-making but the key
issues like migration, trade, and foreign policy? what does it say about the overall direction of the european project? what are the implications for the united states? to unpack the election results and discuss all of these issues, we assembled a terrific panel for you. on my left is antoine. he is the director of the european parliament in washington, a long-term european civil servant, and an expert on the european union and the european parliament inside out. we an't ask for anyone better to help explain the european parliament. catherine is the director of the diplomacy project at harvard university kennedy school and the executive director of the project on europe and transatlantic relations and a long-term expert of transatlantic relations. glad to have you here all the way from boston. less than not least, richard young. he is a senior fellow for the
democracy program at carnegie based on carnegie europe -- the carnegie europe center in brussels. he is an expert on european foreign policy and politics. i promise i will not ask him all the questions about brexit today. we will jump straight into the election results and discuss the implications. i want to turn first to antoine. what were the key results? is anything we should pay particular attention to? anything you found surprising about the results? and how do you think the results will impact the position of the european element -- european parliament? >> usually, the first question
is what is the european parliament? i am happy we have jumped to the second because people already know what the european parliament is. that's reassuring. before the elections, we saw that for the first time, these elections are a series of 28 national elections. parliament is not happy with that. it is a series of elections, nationally. these elections are a series of 28 national debates. this time for the first time, there were preoccupations, migration was a big preoccupation, growth, climate change. for the first time, there were preoccupations for people. i think the main -- as always, it's a new thing that polls
predict things. they predicted there would be a nationalist majority. we conducted polls in the last month and new that we would be in this situation. this, for us, that was not a big surprise. the big surprise was the turnout. since the parliament had been elected in 1979, it began with 61%. the last time, we are at 42.5%. we were hoping there would be a
shift, let alone a shift to -- this is probably the most important element in this election. why? because it proves something was at stake. when there is nothing big in the election at stake, people don't go to vote. in the election here, there is 30%, because there is not much at stake. it looks like the movement was the to the fact that people felt there was something big at stake. the elections, the pro-european, macron style, people really felt something was at stake. hopefully next time we get 60%. the second thing i would say is we continue to have stability in the sense that we have 70 pro europeans and 30% -- 70% pro europeans and 30% anti, a more mixed bag. the two main parties, the conservatives and the democrats,
they will have to deal with the pro-european parties, the liberals and the other party. it will have to negotiate everything. the second thing is that which is the liberals-macron party and the romanians. and in the green. we will have to see them negotiate how to get in front of the commission. everything is to be negotiated. the second thing is the green made a good score. and at the liberals did better than planned and it took from the center-right, so that shifts are not where we thought they would be. >> can i ask a question, what
are the next steps? can you break it down? the parties will not need to form these new groupings in the european parliament, but there will also be immediate decisions made on the appointment of the next european commission, but also the passing of a new budget, so in the context of these elections, help explain how these things will play out in terms of what role the european parliament will play in the european decision-making? >> the new parliament will be starting, the first plein air a session, when the president's parliament is elected. the treaty of lisbon, article 117 says that the parliament elects the president of the commission. and upon presentation of the candidate by the council, taking into account the european elections. that is a new process, it was already applied last time. so in the next weeks, it actually begins today, for begin
yesterday, we have a very intense negotiations between the heads of parties and groups in parliament, for assessing the results of the election. it is more difficult for me than before, than in the past, and even the council is having a dinner, 6:00 p.m. come early for brussels, but they are having a dinner where they will also ponder the results. we are not yet sure whether the -- of the parliament and the council will coincide, so that will be the interesting moment when we see if they agree on what happened, i predict they will not agree immediately. but there will be weeks of negotiations. if all goes well in the same, in july, the parliament will elect the president of the commission. if the council is able to
propose a candidate. and the parliament said clearly it would not accept any candidate that would not be one of the special candidates. >> this is -- explain that concept. >> if parliament is, we do not have a majority or whatever, minority, we have a coalition. this time it is a coalition in the center. so in order to, in order to decide, or in order to say who won the election -- you could say the group that came first, so this time it is the center-right. the center-right says, i came first, mr. weber should be president of the commission, but you also need a qualified majority to elect the president, so if the other part of the coalition do not agree that it should be mr. weber, or whoever, then they have to negotiate. so that is when it becomes
interesting. during the campaign, all political families, apart from the liberals who may not be in agreement with the system, most said we will have one candidate who will do a european campaign and who will say, if you are elected, it will be mr. weber. so it makes it more interesting. >> that will be the next battle. >> and then the budget. >> let me turn to you, catherine. one thing that is interesting was also the result in the two most important countries, germany and france. in france, the european parliament election was described as a referendum between macron and my down the pen. she came out first, but
narrowly. in germany, the right party, they actually did not do as well, at least according to the previous polls, only receiving 10% while the green party became the second biggest party. how do you interpret the elections in france and germany, both in terms of what they mean for domestic politics in those countries, but also what that translates into further european agenda? >> let me comment on a couple things, because i am partially up here and you may not hear it in my idaho accent, but i am half german, so i have one of those three meter long ballots for this election to choose from 43 parties. it was, we are losing -- using a lot of german technology -- terminology appear, so i think the way the election was for germans is it was a -- an election of fake.
this is -- fate. this is interesting, because what he said is right. these elections have been fought by the elections on the government of the day, as a result of the electoral participation has been low, few people have understood what the european parliament is. and what we are seeing now, since the 2014 introduction of some of these more politicizing elements, but also the commodes of -- a camilla to the effect of the crises the european union has been through, if you think about the gratian crisis and banking crisis, we could be here for a number of minutes more to name all of them, and then pressures from the outside like russia, china and the united states, that really made this in the narrative, particularly in germany, but to be certain extent in france, because
president macron has been the motor of a a lot of new ideas on sort of the more federalist agenda in terms of how he reformed the european union from the inside. this election of fate. that explains why so many people turned out in many of these key countries over the past three days leading up to the big election day on sunday. and i think that generally, it is worth pointing out that certain divisions still hold. the young and older division holds, the east-west division holds, despite the fact that says incredibly politicized, it does not necessarily mean, and he pointed to that, to how difficult some of these negotiations will be within the european parliament and between the parliament and the council going forward, there will be a lot of divisions to heal, or policy to make, and a lot of politicalization around it, to say that there will be a lot of negotiation around a lot of the key issues. now, it is worth probing what happened in the individual countries, because the german example is sort of mirrored in the pan-european example, which
is to say the center did not i is to say the center did not hold. that is a big problem for internal politics, because it has exposed, or domestic politics, and exposed how complacent the people's parties, the christian democratic union, led now by akk, angela merkel's hand chosen successor. and at the social democrats no longer speak to some of the more right issues that have come up in the political debate. i have never seen in my country as many successful demonstrations and around what other people might think about as fringe issues, the climate change piece has been the driving component, but as always linked to questions of economic progress, the creation of jobs. germany's decision to really invest on what they call the -- really holding a government accountable that has become too complacent for too long.
so the story in germany, and in part as echoed in europe, is one of swing voters, because this is something to watch in the future. people are more and more making their minds up around issues, which is a fascinating thing, because here we were, well, bemoaning the death of democracy. i think that is not true, this election shows people are willing to invest in issues if you have parties that speak to concerns. unfortunately, in some cases they also speak to fair, because this was based around a narrative of fear. there have been a number of
issues that have driven germans to the streets, and also drove them to the ballot box. what does this mean for the center in terms of domestic politics? i think that this will be very difficult, the head of the social democratic party, who has already offered her, or symbolically has offered her sacrificial head, she has offered her resignation as the party leader of the social democratic party, because the situation is so volatile -- and because the situation is so there volatile, we had elections for local offices in the east and also in the federal state of --, and because there were some political flips there the germans are still cautious, or too cautious, i do not think there will be a vote of no-confidence at the heart of
the german buddhist dog that would german -- trigger a new election, because now they see there is volatility at the center. but i think this will forecast what happens in some of the federal elections as we move into the fall. so very clearly, angela merkel's coalition government is weakening, they do not have enough moral fiber to make a lot of political arguments they need to be making as they enter the second half of her final reign. and you have the greens, who are the second starkest force in the country, in this case 20%. they pulled in a lot of that swing vote. and so if they swing vote was a split between the far right and the greens, and how that is navigated and played out in the landscape is going to be something to watch, because that will then also center power within the european union. a couple thoughts on france. france has technically, just by the way this system has set up,
has tolerated for a long time the split between party leadership that you would have like a president from one party, parliament from another, so they are more comfortable negotiating every election, if you will, on its own merits or on its own sort of situation. so we thought this was going to be given the -- movement that has a squeezed macron's domestic politics, that this would be a vote on his ability to bring the country together, it turns out it likely was not as much as we expected. only 38% of the voters who came out in this election on sunday were really there to slap him on the face. yes, as eric mentioned, of course [speaking french], marine le pen's party came out on top, but not as strong. what is different is the party landscape and the way we do politics now is drastically changing. think about how macron's party came together, how they pushed now within the negotiations with the liberal group, even within the european parliament there are different ways of pushing party politics now. and his party borrowed tactics that present macron used earlier, to really listen to the
people, to start local, come up from above, push specific issues on the agenda. so for those of us who are political science junkies, this is the time to really want a shift in party political landscape, because that is true in both of these traditional motor countries of the european union. france and germany. and what will be fascinating to see how this plays out, of course, macron did not do as well as he would've wanted, but he will be, i think personally a kingmaker in this run on who will be the european commission president. we already know his chosen candidate in his back pocket is the current brexit negotiator. so that is a another thing to watch. he has some wind in his a sales with this result and i think that he feels now he can still continue to push back domestically. and so i think it would be really critical to watch what happens this evening. we already know that there are bilateral negotiations going on between the heads of state, but it will also be interesting to see what his group does at the heart of the european parliament
when it comes to really negotiating and asserting power within the parliament. >> not altogether bad news for him, despite ending up in second place. richard, i want to bring you in on the broader principle of europe, but i want to ask about spain, because i think that spain was an interesting, it had interesting results in this year's elections, bucking some broader trends we saw in europe. the social democrats did exceedingly well, whereas the far right party -- which caught the attention before the elections, only -- in the end. what does this tell us about spain and more broadly in europe? >> let me start with the bigger question. the key thing is the point about this being framed as an election of fate. that pro-europeans and anti-europeans are framed in this election and have already decided on the future of the eu and european politics, macron
repeatedly suggested that this was an existential moment of choice for europe between pro-european and anti-european choices. i think of that was the case, the outcome is actually not that decisive. it is actually hard to read. in spain, as in other countries, i do not think that these results will push europe decisively in one direction or another. for me, it is actually really difficult to read any kind of single-story from the elections. in some countries, the far right gained ground, and others it lost territory. in some countries, the mainstream parties almost disappeared, in others they held their ground quite well, with spain being one example. in some countries, the story was the rise of the greens, but in large parts of europe the greens are completely absent, so -- with pan-european trends, so to me it is almost impossible to read any kind of single trend. whether it is spain or other countries, the results have more
to do with national specificities than any kind of pan-european trend. what does that mean for the future of europe? obviously, it is a relief that the far right parties did not gain more ground than what was expected. however, it was probably the case that the press here and in europe probably overstated a bit of the danger of a far right takeover in the parliament, so it is built up as a little bit of a strawman. it is good the far right parties have been contained two more or less the level that they were
at, but they were probably never going to make a significant breakthrough. it is good the eu is not about to collapse or unravel. the eu could enter another cycle of crisis, but i think the significant thing is if there is another crisis, it would not be because of the elections, it would be something else, an economic crisis or other factors, not because the distribution of seats in the parliament has changed a little bit because of these elections. i think that conversely, conversely it probably means that the euro skeptic block, although it is divided, probably has enough of a consolidated presence now in parliament to make it a little bit more unlikely that there will be any major leap forward in european integration. i am not sure that that is a game changer, because i think before the elections took place there was quite an ambitious set of reforms on the table for quite some time and there have been governments who have not
been able to agree amongst themselves on the way forward, so the new parliament may push things a little bit more in that direction, but i do not think it is a game changer. i think that the key thing will be how this new fragmentation in the parliament is handled. you know a lot of the headlines have been that the two main parties have lost their natural majority. and fragmentation, many people see this fragmentation as a negative development in parliament and it could make european politics a lot messier, make majorities harder to form. i think that is true, so it could slow things down a little bit, but on the other hand you could say that fragmentation has a positive side, which is it may open up a little bit more, it could make debate more dynamic, open ended, it will bring possibly, possibly a wider range of policy alternatives to the table, which i would say is what the parliament needs. and i want to say, it is very understandable for the pro-european parties now to get
together and even try to form a coalition, because they feel in a way that could have a downside in that it could actually end up further fueling the frustrations that have driven the populism in the first place, if the coalition seems to be working in an exclusionary way. it will be a difficult balance to get right, and there needs to be coordination between the pro-european forces, but if it is done in a way that actually kind of adds further gist to the populism, that could be a negative impact. >> can i add, because i think that this brings, what richard says brings in nicely together, because either we could be entering this sort of wonderful rejuvenation where everything is so interesting and ripe and people pay attention to the accountability functions the european parliament has, and we
have an increase in voter engagement, ornd we have the scenario that richard talked about, which this is the zenith of it all. and because all of these political issues, the coalition building, what might just be ad hoc coalitions around the different issues become so difficult and entrenched that we are right back to this understanding of it as a technocratic, nondemocratic, hard to understand institution. and in fact, in the next european election we see a sharp cut right back down to the sort of baseline. so it is this really interesting cost -- p moment to cus
figure out how this ultimately plays out and how intense the european population is in pushing on these accountability mechanisms and realizing that there are issues that are greater at stake, or at stake that cannot be managed on a national level anymore and that they remain engaged in that way. i think that will be really difficult to navigate, both on the national level and on the eu level. i am not a distinguished researcher or political scientist, but i am a practitioner and in political situations there is a risk we do things wrong. with brexit, we could have fallen into the trap of being divided, and we are not, at least not for now. after the berlin wall fell, we could have said, these countries can wait before they join nato, and we did not. the euro, we could have said we are not ready for it, and if so we did not. we got the euro. my point is, the observers, i understand why they do it because it is interesting to tell this story, but the observers always say there is a risk we will do wrong, and it is true, but at the same time i want to point out that in reality, if you look at the reality, we have been waiting
for parliament for 30 years and we have done a number of things wrong, but if you look at the big picture, the big picture is not the series of failings. it is rather a series of successes. i don't want to be a propagandist here. what are those series of successes? those that i mentioned, the euro, the creation of a common market that is gaining power. and if so, you know, the measurement of the states holding ourselves together. these are things that the migration crisis, the euro crisis, all these things were overcome, and every time that we -- every six years, when we talked about the euro crisis the euro was about to fall apart, but not really. migration, europe is about to fall apart. well, we have not. we are getting stronger and stronger. so we have to be careful when we
predict catastrophes, yes, they could happen. but they have not happened so far and we are stronger. on the contrary, we are stronger. >> richard? richard: i do not mean to be taken as predicting catastrophes, i agree there are positives, but it is just where these translate now into something like kind of longer-term structural change in politics, we have the opportunity to take advantage, but it is no guarantee that this will actually become a longer-term process of change. but i agree that there are positives, particularly for people looking at this from the u.s. despite the president's constant criticisms of the european project, it is clearly good that the anti-european forces did not gain more ground, which could have led to instability that could have been very, very hard
for the u.s. to deal with in its foreign policy. in terms of what it means for in terms of what it means for the u.s., therefore i think it is basically good, that outcome is fairly benign. i think it means and there will be differences, sharper differences between the u.s. and eu on certain policy, certain policy differences. i think that the rise of the greens will mean that new policy on climate issues will become stronger. we all know that they're already differences between the eu and this administration on climate change issues and i think they will become sharper. also, many parties that gained ground in the elections are not really supportive of free-trade. the far right parties are quite protectionist, the greens have said that they only want trade agreements if they come with, if they come with -- yes, if signatories accept climate change obligations. so that could mean that the trade agenda between the u.s. and of the eu becomes even more fraught than it already is. so i think there will be policy implications for the u.s. after these elections, but i do not think there will be any kind of
dramatic change in transatlantic relations. >> but could there also be internal consequences for europe? antoine mentioned the migration policy, what about rule of law and the so-called article seven, the fact that you now have greater representation and the fact that victor or vince'party won over 50% in hungary, shouldn't this reduce the likelihood that the european parliament would seek to go after countries within the european union that backslide on democracy and rule of law? do you want to come in on that, richard? richard: so people know that
measures have been triggered against hungary and poland further rule of law infringements, but those measures have not made much headway because of the parliamentary arithmetic, also because of the level of counsel governments blocking measures taken against other states. so i think that in a way the eu had already had to look for a different way of tackling these rule of law issues, a bit more oblique, a bit more preventative. i think it is a question of taking action earlier on, so we do not get to a situation where these very punitive measures have to be triggered in a way that now the governments are -- now that governments blocked. so again, the new arithmetic in parliament may make it slightly more difficult to take measures against governments that are not respecting the rule of law principles, but those problems were already there before the elections, and i think already kind of engendering the debate amongst governments about how they can actually frame a different kind of approach to protecting democracy within the eu. cathryn, in terms of
foreign policy that richard mentioned, you have thought a lot about transatlantic relations and foreign policy, at a time in your office, you mentioned the pressure from russia and china, but also from the trump administration. there is perhaps a danger or a risk that these internal divisions within european countries, but now increasingly within brussels itself in the european parliament, could undermine european unity and europe's ability to assert itself in this increasingly competitive global landscape. do you see the risk for that? or do you see a silver lining in terms of sort of the centrist pro-european countries now coming together and wanting to assert european power or sovereignty, others call it strategic autonomy, at a time with rising competition in the global inscape? cathryn: right now, we have a table of riches, this tableau of riches. for a long time we had atrophy, we had atrophy within the
european union and if you think about macron's series of speeches, angela merkel has given pronouncements, and others came out with their own visions, the german foreign minister with his new alliance of multilateral you -- multilateralists , have this tableau that everybody has powder upon in -- piled upon in terms of what the european union can do in the world. at some of these things, some of these new ideas have already found their way into institutional arrangements, so permanent cooperation on defense issues, this idea that the european union, and in fact this assists with the trump narrative, if you will, this is a new way of thinking about transatlantic security, that europe would take care of its own house a little bit more. that it would forge a new relationship with africa, something that the parliament has pushed very strongly. and i think they can actually do something about that, whereas other issues the parliament really only has supervisory powers or accountability powers where they can bring the high representative in, and although
they have pushed for that to be a larger goal, it is a supervisory role more than anything. but right now you have four or five big ideas on the table and whether it is the early intervention force that macron put on the table, or some version of what might be, i will put the air quotes around it, "the european army," what you see there is a lot of good visions and i think that you , need that to bring a political project along. i think that is generally a positive thing. but i think the next five years will really be where the paddle pedalthe metal -- the , where you need
to figure out how these ideas come together in an institutional, functional way. and i think that we are still far away from bringing that together. this is where you really see the critical divisions that still exist. this is what i meant with the north and south divide, east and west divide, the greater aperture behind all of this is that europe is not as united as one might think, given these election results, because there are big differences about what the european project is for. and i think that you see that -- because in poland, you know, again they won those elections outright. what does that say about how we we not grow together and how did not put forth a common purpose that it did not resonate across the board? if we had the italians throwing out one anchor point of really the belt and wrote initiative, saying this is for our good, this is what we want. countries are going off in some respects on their own in some of these critical foreign policy and trade issues.
and i think there is danger there. so what needs to happen over these next five years? we need to look critically at the various issues, the ideas that have been put on the table, and part of that will be the institutional hallmark that in external action service, led by a new foreign minister, by a new high representative, another critical poster that is now up for grabs, will have to do. and they will have to do it in a strategic fashion that is communicable to the european voting public, i think that is an opportunity we have missed and missed again because nobody understands what strategic autonomy or principled pragmatism, or any of these bureaucratic, technocratic things actually mean for our daily lives and how we advance economically, or how we advance our economic security and physical security. those are the most important things to europeans.
nobody understands how those things come together. what an important moment for the institutions to work out how this will function for the big member states that can invest both financially and politically in making these things are reality. i think the next five years are important. that is my opening statement, but this has to happen at a time when internally, domestic politics and domestic democracies are going through a democratic turn process. i'm not fully optimistic. i want to be. i am a european federalist. but i am not sure that we will get it right in response or in advance of these incredible challenges coming at us. china, the united states and russia. erik: what your remarks also pointed to is that maybe characterizing this european aspect as anti-european against pro-european, it might be about different parties having different competing ambitions , about the direction the european union should take. i want to open this up for questions and comments.
feel free to direct a question to any one of the panelists. let's start with the gentleman in the back. please wait for the microphone. if you can introduce yourself and your affiliation. i am from the european -- >> i am from the european policy office, i work with antoine. right now, in the coming weeks we will be seeing a fascinating power play between the council and the european parliament, constitutional matters. this might be a question that does not interested that much. what do you think would be the effect on the voters should the -- effect on the voters? should the european parliament let go of the idea of candidates becoming european commission president?
maybe in some countries more than others, that is the idea they gave citizens. so do you think this would be negative or would they not care about it? how much importance would you give to a question like this? erik: let's pick up one more while we're at it. over here, please. to the middle. >> i am formerly from the imf. i have a question. do any one of you want to venture some guesses as to how the euro zone will reach parliament? questions, --to questions the first , one is about the candidate, antoine described which party will nominate the next european commission president. and the second one is on the euro zone. i wonder if we can start with antoine. antoine: i don't live that not
don't believe that many europeans would notice, not yet. it happened once. we have to take into account elections. we are only in the second set. i always say give europe another 60 years. we will talk. america, we take for granted that it took many wars and many fights. we are in this long-term story. i would say that if we don't have a candidate elected in july or september, i don't believe many europeans would notice. but i believe if we fail, doing that this time, this process is dead. i believe in 20 years time, if we manage to do it this time for the second time, it is not as easy as last time. so if we manage to do it this time, next time it is going to be more normal. in 30 years time, everybody will know exactly what it means, it will have changed names, it will
be nor -- it will be more normal. the euro zone, i think we need to do that, we have to think about the steps. after we create this currency, we realized we are missing important to us to make it functional and work and sustainable. tomissing important tools make it functional and make it work and make it sustainable. we need to do it. we have to do it in ways that will work. the french president put a lot of strength in that. it has to be a franco-german initiative, very well supported, and then maybe it can become something. but i think it will be one of the most difficult things to be done if it gets done. and we need to do it, but i'm not sure that we have the political force to do it. erik: i saw a poll in germany before the european election
that asked german voters, do you know who michael faber is. he is the european people's party candidate. only 23% of germans recognize this name. it is like an artificial debate among brussels insiders, and it doesn't really resonate with people across europe. cathryn: the epp should pick a better candidate. i think it is because, they did try after that pole, they tried to play that model up, specifically in germany. you had to televised debates primetime, and you don't have to be a polling junkie to watch it and you can see who won those debates outright. it is just a more compelling personality. but i do think there is a credibility problem there. if i were a betting person and had to put money on it, i think
the next commission president thatbe margarita or marcel is who they put forth as candidates. erik: she was a danish commissioner. cathryn: they did not put forth one candidate, they put forth a lineup of people and ran them in different debates in different countries. this is a time, people are paying attention. so it is a time if you're going , to be a credible medical entity, to understand that now is not the time to continue jerking the european voters around. if we are seeing a maturation of this process, if we are seeing mature european voters who are interested and invested, then make sure, even though the language in the treaty is a little strange, but make sure
language counts. you cannot continue to disappear -- to disappoint european voters on those issues. make a promise and stick to it. probably people will , not notice as much. i think it will all come out in a wash. but that is going to leave a very sour taste in the mouths of people. this is a critical opportunity at a critical time. my point is they can't keep this up. if you're going to politicize the process, politicize the process, pick a good candidate, run them, do it properly. people will pay attention. on the eurozone reform question, i think that is fascinating. because there you do see a seachange in the populist parties. so much of the motor has to come from germany and france. but you will see that none of the populist parties in the running, if they are part of the no one wants to leave
the euro anymore. erik: is this a result of brexit? cathryn: it is partially the result of brexit's but it also is a part of realities. how it will come out in a wash specifically between germany and france will be a lot around the issues of how you secure transfers, it will be a lot about solidarity and how solidarity works out. i think that in these political negotiations, it is difficult to understand some of the routing of people's views. process isty something this goes back to , 1923. this is something that is dyed in the wool for germans. this makes it a volatile
situation for europe. for germany, internally, infrastructure, the entire country is coming apart. but this is a cultural marker. this is an identity marker within german domestic politics. i think that is something to understand. obama did not understand that. the french president does not understand that. it is hard to grasp rationally. but these are the kinds of things in european politics that do play a role and that make a difference. so understanding and bringing empathy at least to the negotiating table, for people's red lines that is where we will , have to work. looking ahead, the negotiation process will be very interesting. god knows that the euro zone needs the kind of reform antoine mapped out. and the far right is no longer pushing to break the entire thing apart. this splitting
the incumbent process it fails. , but without due to democratic legitimacy in the european union? richard: i don't think that it would be good. i think in the bars and pubs of europe, they are talking about the championship finals. all the polls show that the citizens show of slight frustration that they don't have more voice in european affairs. i'm not sure that this power but battle over the top post is the way they are going to feel a connection with the eu. that everybody got excited about the ep elections this time. but the parliament does have a structural weakness because of the way the e.u. is set up. you have to remember the ep does , not playing in the world that -- does not play the role that a parliament or congress plays in holding an executive to an account. it is important what has
happens in the election and who gets which position, but this structural issue of the way that european democracy works, the european parliament is really comparable to congress or a national parliament, meaning that democratic legitimacy needs to be found through a whole range of other issues, a whole range of other reforms not just , what happens in the parliament. that would be my view. on eurozone reform is i think macron comes out of , this a little weakened. he was already struggling to proposalsagenda, his for eurozone reform forward, and he may struggle to gain traction. if there is eurozone reform, it will come from the markets because of what happens in the economy, an external shock in the future not because of a parliamentarye in
arithmetic. that would be my guess. reform. erik: on the eurozone reform debate, a lot of it seems to be focused on the franco-german relationship, and also the scandinavian countries, together and acting as more of a unified block. they are trying to block macron and some of his southern european partners. let's pick up a few more questions and comments. let's go in the back. >> i think i may have missed this at the very beginning, but i will ask it anyway. of anhe vice president ngo, global peace services usa. i am wondering, this ambiguous result, which is not really definitive, there have been changes and modifications, what implications if any are there to the whole immigration dispute? different positions, openness,
narrowing the opportunities to any, does this play out in way? i understand that there are national consequences, different positions but e.u. wide, are , there any consequences? erik: i believe there is another on this end. >> i'm from the u.s. naval academy. my question has to do with what we are looking at right now for our next election. that is the role of russia. was there a role in these elections? did you see the impact? are they getting more sophisticated in their approaches? is it that everyone realizes this is what is happening and they disregard? erik: two questions, the first about migration policy, the second about russian interference in the european elections.
maybe i can turn to richard on e.u. immigration. this has been facing europe since the 2015-2016 height of immigration crisis. there have been efforts to enhance external border security, but the internal asylum processes in europe remain very divisive. do you see any impact on the european parliament elections? richard: it is placed on the policy agenda what is there to stay. antoine made a good point, it is there as an important issue. the survey suggests it is not citizens' most pressing issue today. in some places perhaps, but overall in european countries it is not ranked as the number-one issue, in away because the numbers coming in have dramatically fallen since 2016, 2017. it is also because a lot of the mainstream, non--populist parties have exposed their
populist concerns about immigration. for example, the social democrats may be winning in denmark but they have a fairly strong line against migration. ironically, perhaps one area where there is a degree of consensus among populists and non-populists is the priority for the eu to extend its borders. that will be fairly high up in terms of foreign policy and internal agenda. on russia, you're much more of an expert but it struck me that this was one of the first elections were the eu took this really seriously and did move up a gear in a range of efforts to protect the integrity of the elections. hears, theyt one feel fairly satisfied that the situation was contained and outside attacks and interference wasn't as systemic as it could
have been. i think that will be a big debate in this parliament, whether the eu now needs regulate in a more formal sense over social media and the tech companies. that is a big concern for citizens, but a lot of the political parties in parliament as well. erik: that is an important issue. it has a big impact on american technology companies. this is maybe where we see the european parliament's most significant power on the world stage, the ability to regulate technology companies. we have seen european parliament moving to american companies like google and microsoft before. how would you think the elections might impact his -- impact its ability to play a role? we have already seen privacy law. do you think we are going to see
more on that side of things? cathryn: one of the many going on in germany were on the data protection law, particularly article that is the 13. thing that really moves and gets under the skin of europeans. it is interesting. so what we are seeing their, on the one hand you see this technological innovation battle between china and the united states. and europe has found, this is what they consider the third-way internet, its regulatory capacity. so it can't keep up with the invasion angle and identify its own innovation champions. and this has almost become accepted reality. somebody said, we are not going to be able to play that catch-up game, but we are owing to find a -- find a way to infuse our european values. this is a critical component.
how we understand and look into the world. we will infuse that into our laws, regulatory capacity and our taxation policies. into the way that we structure the way money flows here. this will also begin to have an impact on foreign policy. also, the relationship with the united states. we see with -- we see this with the 5g debate. the europeans don't understand why huawei needs to come off the , or off the list as a , if you supplier regulate and monitor them closely using everything in your toolkit. we are already seeing issues come to a head. so i do think think that inability to get ahead of this technological piece which, again, we can all bemoan because there is no reason in theory for the europeans to be so far behind, given their innovative and engineering capacities, but they are. and they will continue to use
that as a tool, and that will sort of be their third way of managing this brave new world. but a lot of other things there need to happen as well, the completion of the digital single martin -- digital single market. every person running for the european parliament said they were committed to doing that. because the only way that you are going to achieve any semblance of economic growth aross what is ultimately stagnant region right now comparatively is by pushing into , these areas. so figuring out how that all comes together will be critical over the next few years. just a few words on immigration i think thatament the parliament roles are ultimately so limited, because everything when it comes to security and border issues is still very much firmly in the hands of the council. that being said, on the margins, when it comes to integration pieces and the relationship with africa and questions of
development policy with respect to sunday, components within the multi annual financial framework, european parliament can do a number of things with the margin. and then the question becomes how actors within the parliament begin to tell that story. and whether people understand that impact and that connection. they figured true out the people were seeing a fair amount of fake news that was emanating from russia. and from a more tactical side, russia continues to happily disrupt and a lot of the former vassal states that it understands to still be its region, serbia being a prime example. so when it comes to thinking about eu enlargement and how the european union values growth, there is still very clearly that
kead-to-had conflict, which er c is an expert in. but on the whole, the cause this was so rife, i don't think it had as much of an impact as it could have. antoine: i migration, i would say the same as i said on the euro. we open our borders. but the member states, we keep our sovereignty on migration policy. and i don't believe it really works. so when you have a crisis, if you open the borders, you have to have some convergence on the you accept and how you manage. that one ofs good the main topics of interest is immigration. there is food for thought for the member states after the elections. when you think about what the main topics of interest are for
europeans where europeans want , europe to be more effective, it is immigration. it is marginal but it is still in member state issue. that frustrates people. they say they want to see some progress, but i don't see any, so what is the e.u. doing? erik: macron is talking about a common european border agency. do you see that being impacted by these collections? you have a more fragmented european parliament but a somewhat stronger far right presence in the european parliament. are they going to push this issue, and how will that play out? immigration is a big issue and they will oblige politicians to move on it. it is an externally tense and difficult subjects because it goes back to the sense of identity. if i want to know how i accept
others in my community, i want to know who i am. we are in this age of big transformation. there is a huge question of what to know who i am. does it mean to be a german, a european? so if we have issues of who we are, our own identity, than that will reflect who we want to accept into our community. say that interestingly, these elections were not so much, regrettably, about foreign toward china, toward russia, toward america. it does not change much, we are friends with america. we have our issues but we have a strong transatlantic relationship. it is not at risk. these elections are very much about domestic issues. it is good, in a way because we , need these debates internally. if europeans want to be an actor
in the multipolar world of tomorrow they have to think if , they want to be an actor in the world in the next 20 years, what do we have to do to get there? we can't just spent all of our time looking at ourselves. we need to understand how we situate ourselves in the world. we have time for a few final questions. let's jump to the back. >> i work in the european parliament office. i also work with antoine, potentially a fellow propagandist, so take what i say with a grain of salt. i want to make a comment about the eu budget and the rule of law issue. there has to be an agreement on the eu level on the next seven-year budgetary plan that would begin in 2021. so they have to reach an agreement by the end of next year. and the way it works is that member states have to reach any
unanimous agreement and the council, and then the parliaments can only accept or reject this deal. mostly horse trading in the council. but it will be interesting this time around because there is a link receipt of regional development funds, which make up about a third of the eu development budget, to the reliability of member-state judicial systems. be very hard to get that through the council because one would expect poland and hungary and italy to try to block it. but i wonder if the parliament might try to insist on this? erik: we have one more question here. >> i am a physician and just an interested observer. you said that immigration was no
longer the number-one issue for people. what is the number one issue for europeans now? erik: any final questions? let's go over here. the microphone is coming behind you. >> i am chloe rice. i work at the british embassy. i was wondering if you could say a few words on how you think the trump administration and the president might interpret the headlines of the elections and the backlash against interests? also, some of the criticisms that the administration has had. what with the results be? erik: we have three great questions the first question is , about the links to rule of law. the second is what is the number concern, if it is not immigration, and the third is about the trump administration and their reaction to headlines.
on this last question i saw a tweet by the fox news host laura laura -- abraham -- ingraham that the results clearly show that there is a populist wave in europe that is surging and that the elites have it wrong. richard, you have thought a lot about populism and also, its underpinnings. is that really the right interpretation of these results? i assume, based on your previous comments that it is not. , richard: it could be one element but it is a lot more complicated. there are so many different things going on in these elections. but i would agree that that would be the interpretation that this administration is likely to extract from these results. be cut it is fairly self-serving for that administration. of the eu at the moment is not that bad at the moment, for all the demonstrations and criticisms of
the eu. if the e.u. were to unravel in a dramatic way, that would release so much instability in a time when the u.s. itself needs international allies. but that the same time, i don't think the eu is really going to make dramatic progress into creating a single european security identity and even less a single european army, especially with the u.k. on its way out. what we have known for many years is that this is something the u.s. has been uneasy about this. i would say the elections provide a degree of stability and predictability. the administration is playing on divide and rule. anybody will do that, especially with the u.k. on the security side. it is not an entirely uncomfortable place for the u.s. to be, notwithstanding what the trump administration's narrative is about populism.
erik: on this question of linking funding to rule of law and democratic performance within the eu, is that an option that can fly? and wouldn't have an impact? richard: it has been in the system for a long time. it is basically the suggestion in the future, the big amounts of money that come from the eu budget for countries like poland and hungary this idea has been , in the system for quite some time. the germans are pushing it very strongly. i would favorite. how it gets through the system seems to be a lot more thelicated, not just with parliament but with the eu system, there are legal debates about whether it is legitimate. one has to be very careful. it would make the budget a lot more politicized. you have to define very carefully what these political
critique or he are, so you wouldn't just be penalizing hungry and poland. there are so many member states with rule-of-law problems. you have to be very careful about whether you could objectively draw a line between those countries that have problems that should be punished by having funds withdrawn, and those where the problems are lesser and should not be punished. you can see it unleashing a lot of tension in the parliament. so it is intrinsically a good idea but we need to be very, very careful about how it is actually implemented. erik: what lessons are the trump administration drawing on the european parliament elections to , the extent that it is? we had former trump administration advisor stephen bannon campaigning across europe, try to support populist candidates. we have seen president trump seemingly offering support for the likes of victor or bond -- victor orban or the brexit
-- the brexit becaus the brexit cause. you argued earlier that at a time of greater international competition, having a european union that is able to take common positions on the russia sanctions or investment screening against china should be in the u.s. interest. how do you think washington is reacting to what we have been discussing about the parliament elections? cathryn: they would love to continue this game of them holding the string of the sweater in europe just walks away and then it unravels. i don't think that worked. i think bannon is trying to build this campaign on the inside. you had this odd politicization of the ambassador of germany, look,d grenell, who said i am here to support right-wing parties across europe, which caused a huge outrage,
rightfully, across germany. but that did not fly, it did not hang together ultimately. and this is -- and this supposedly and that was being built, it also did not work and it likely will not work. we will see how that plays out in parliament as it is constituted. toit just goes to show, understand the european union you need to understand the , european union. just bringing over what you saw work in this country does not necessarily work in a union of with all of the differentiation and all the granularities across these countries that we discussed earlier. conversely, internationally, even this campaign that we are supposedly putting together, the supposedly is putting together against iran. with respect to the china different there are
ways that -- this administration needs europe to sit down and go away. whether you agree with what the arguments the administration are mounting about iran or you agree with how they are mounting the china challenge it does, in , order to get some of the objections through that mr. bolton has, right at the heart of the white house, you need europe to stay calm. and i think as we are nearing the cusp of the original brexit time, and as we move toward october, it is not for the markets, it is not good for the american economy to have that --d of discombobulated n within thetio system when you are trying to slide what you are doing elsewhere in foreign policy. truthfully, while that could be an idea, that you like european nationstates, it ultimately does not play right now into the priorities that this administration has.
on the multi-annual framework, i do think that at least we had -- there are more political issues at stake, which i think it's fascinating, and you saw that at some of the debates in terms of what the european parliament may limit in terms of the powers that it has, at least put forward as ideas. beyond pushing those things, the european parliament has been the institution that has pushed against the contraction, against cutting down cohesion funds against cutting down the , financial instruments within the eu budget. so i think the general good news is we are seeing a maturing of the european political system. and that also means that if you are going to pay close attention to what happens in the parliament, the arguments and negotiations and things put forward in the committee processes around how we end up negotiating the budget, i think it is going to be interesting,
because they can avenge, they can put new issues on the table, partly because ultimately they don't have to take those positions, but there is a new creativity and that deserves to be lauded. that deserves to be shined a because the european party are pushing their issues when it comes to the budget. wen it comes to the budget, know this about the organizations that we run, that ,s the ultimate value statement how you spend your money is what you really mean. certain parts of the european parliament have really understood that. they will push a lot of these issues, whether that is true or not, that is for us to see in the next few months. erik: quickly, antoine, you look at the polls. it is not migration that is ,ominant as a political issue what else? antoine: it is migration. migration, the economy and climate change.
to answer your question about what type of preoccupation europeans have, it depends on where you live and where you sit. if you are in east and central europe, the main issue for you is your security. if you are a spaniard or you're somebody from the south who is struggling with unemployment, you want to see better innovation growth. if you are somebody with a n external border that is threatened you need to see , action on migration. so i think it depends where you sit. and if we all take seriously all these preoccupations if one , region of europe has the feeling that their main preoccupation is not taken into account they will say this is , not for me. so we have to take seriously the big preoccupation, and know that
it is not one central issue. depending on where you are, you have big issues that have to be taken seriously. erik: we are out of time. one quick final question. , if there are one or two issues that you are really watching carefully in the next six months when it comes to the impact of these elections on shaping the future direction of europe, what events are you looking at? antoine: if there is one thing that is important, it is that for the first time in 40 years, there has not been a decrease but an increase in participation. be this thing and the other thing, but there must be a signal from brussels and the eu that this motivation has been taken into account. we realize you were present, you voted more, and we take that into account. if we don't do that, we have to
make use of this new impetus. cathryn: speed is always the issue. we need to say how quickly can you retain some of this narrative as we move through the negotiation process is? how quick and you be and how can you communicate some of these issues to the european public? they are switched on and up in a way that they have arguably and historically never been switched on. if you waste this opportunity, this is a right moment. we have known european institutions to be mature. if you waste this opportunity by going back to being technocratic, complacent and slow, again, your operations are designed to be slow and deliberative, especially at this level. that is the fundamental tension. you have to be responsive to these issues that people went to the ballot box for, and you have to prove that you can do it quickly.
you have to do it around these critical issues, climate change, migration and the very basic question of how you in short european economic security going forth and to their physical security. if you don't develop a clear narrative that is responsive and quick, you are going to see everything come back down and crash back down to the original level. erik: final word, richard? richard: a couple of weeks ago, the european leaders met in a summit, they were supposed to define a common vision for the future of the eu, and they didn't do it, in part because they were waiting to see what happened in the elections, they were waiting to see how brexit turned out. but they agreed that there were a lot of unresolved issues that the eu is muddling through in a very expedient fashion. and at some stage, the leaders do have to sit down and agree on a basic common vision. the election should feed into that bigger thinking, that bigger rethinking about europe.
and the question for me is whether that actually happens or not. erik: we'll have to watch and see. i think this has been a very illuminating conversation. thank you, all, for joining us. please join me in thanking our terrific panel. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] after a weeklong recess for memorial day congress is back in session monday. the house meets at 2:00 p.m. eastern and will consider $19 million disaster aid package. 19 billion -- a disaster aid package. when congress is in session the house is live on c-span in the senate, live on c-span2. ♪
commencement speeches all week on c-span. tonight at 8:00 eastern, speakers include supreme court justice sonya sotomayor at manhattan college in the bronx, businesswoman cindy mccain delivers remarks at the george washington university school of international affairs. and we look back to 1990 and former first lady barbara bush, speaking at wellesley college. watch commencement speeches tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. watch online anytime on c-span.org and listen on the free, c-span radio app. i rebuke the cancer. >> i can only see it from her perspective. i have had a lot of people pray for me similarly, and as a christian i believe christianity has a long tradition of divine healing, so i don't think it is not possible for god to heal people.
day,nday on c-span's q and a duke divinity school assistant professor and prosperity gospel scholar talks about her memoir, "everything happens for a reflecting on being diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 35. >> there is no pain in your stomach, right? that is real. >> you can see how he moved quickly from praying for her, the anointed vessel of god and his confidence in himself as that vehicle. and that because she didn't have pain in that moment that she is definitely healed. and his very dramatic approach to faith healing is one i often found to be somewhat manipulative. sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> up next, a conversation on
athletes and activism. we will hear from current and former athletes, journalists and activists on race, religion, mental health and lgbtq equality. washington dc mayor muriel bowser also spoke to the gathering. ♪ announcer: please welcome "the atlantic's" margarette lowe. [applause] welcome to the atlantic's first summit on athletes and activism. i'm margaret lowe, part of the team that brings journalism to stages across the country. we are so happy to b