More or less Europe, austerity vs investment and how to tackle further enlargement of the EU – there is plenty for Martin Callanan, a British member of the ECR group, and Rebecca Harms, a German member of the Green group, to disagree about. Our Facebook fans found out more about their differences during a chat on 9 July with the two political group leaders when they could not only ask about the future of Europe, but also about topical issues such as the Prism scandal.
The two group leaders disagreed on whether less or more Europe was needed. Mr Callanan said: “I certainly believe in less Europe because I believe that Europe already interferes in too many areas of national life and is choking off our individual national identities.” Ms Harms said: “More Europe means common efforts to fight the recession and to tackle unemployment as well as common efforts to control better the financial markets, especially by the means of the banking union.”
They also differed on how further EU enlargement should be tackled. Mr Callanan said: “In general I am a supporter of enlargement and I think a wider, shallower Europe is better than a smaller, deeper Europe.” However, Ms Harms said: “My idea is first to deepen the existing EU and then to decide on enlargement."
The two politicians were asked about allegations that the US has been spying on Europeans as well as on EU institutions. Mr Callanan said: “As of yet we haven't seen any evidence and before rushing to judgement on the intelligence agencies, we should remember the many terrorist incidents they have prevented through their surveillance activities.” Ms Harms said: “The institutions, the politicians and the citizens should not be targets of secret services without strong checks and balances.”
There were also questions about how to make the EU more democratic. Mr Callanan said: “The answer is to devolve more power back to Member States, to political bodies that people relate more closely to.” Ms Harms replied: “We are in favour of the EU of the citizens.The the right to water initiative has shown that citizens are able to make their voices heard in the EU.”