Regaining citizens' trust is best way to fight extremism says Schulz in Lorraine
On 16 May, Martin Schulz´s European Election Campaign Tour brought him to Forbach in Lorraine, France.
Schulz´s visit to the region started with an open exchange with local entrepreneurs, trade unionists, and public sector workers at the EURODEV Center. This innovative co-working space provides a hub for cross-borders projects.
After a tour of the venue, Schulz discussed with the guests the value of the internal market. The small businesses represented at the site explained to Schulz that they cannot exploit the cross-border market as easily as some major multinationals. They also complained of the high levels of bureaucracy surrounding the application for EU development funds. Schulz agreed that a more stream-lined process is required so that half the funding that small businesses get from the EU isn’t wasted on the administrative process of applying for the money.
Schulz was also interested to hear about cross-border healthcare cooperation which sees patients being able to easily use hospitals on either side of the border to speed their access to care. He also had the opportunity to discuss public transport links between neighbouring French and German cities which are making cultural exchanges possible and boosting trade.
After the roundtable discussions, Schulz held a common press conference with Edouard Martin and Catherine Trautmann, the leading regional candidates for the Parti Socialiste. Speaking to French and German press, the three candidates gave a clear signal that this election is not about whether France or other countries should be ‘in or out’ of the EU, but about what kind of EU we should build together. Edouard Martin, stated “A vote for the Parti Socialiste means a vote for Schulz as Commission President and a step towards a more democratic Europe.”
Schulz then joined the local candidates in an energetic town-hall meeting with passionate supporters from the Parti Socialiste and the Young Socialists Movement.
Schulz told the enthusiastic crowd that increasing investment is the best way to make citizens believe in Europe again. “We need to get Europe´s economy back on track. This can only be done by investing in a smart re-industrialisation strategy that boosts growth and creates jobs.” Schulz stated.
“A huge number of ordinary citizens are voting for extremist parties - because they feel Europe has failed them. I understand and share their disappointment. The only way of regaining citizens trust is to show them that we can bring fairness back to the heart of European policies.” he concluded.
Other speakers at the meeting were MEP candidates Edouard Martin, Catherine Trautman and Pierre Pribeteich, as well as Jean-Pierre Liouville and Philip Cordery from the Parti Socialiste, and German MEP Jo Leinen.