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Parliament Magazine 500: Great expectations

Great expectations for Parliament Magazine Issue 500 | 09 September 2019 ‘La rentrée’ edition.

Fresh from their victories in this year’s European elections, five of Parliament’s newest deputies from across the political spectrum – Karen Melchior, Erik Marquardt, Assita Kanko, Pierfrancesco Majorino and Isabel Benjumea – sat down with Lorna Hutchinson to discuss the paths that brought them to Brussels and what they hope the next five years have in store.

Click on the link above to read the full article, but here is my input to the article about my first weeks in the European Parliament.

1.            What was your first impression of life in the European parliament?

It has been overwhelming in the best possible way to start my work as a member of the European Parliament. After an intense spring of campaigning,

I enjoy getting started working with my colleagues on digital rights for Europeans as citizens as well as consumers.

There is so much to do, and I am thrilled that I get to work here. The amount of interesting people to meet and collaborate with here in Brussels has made my calendar a nightmare. Just like everybody else I want more hours in a day as that is not possible I’ll work to get five more years!

2.            Why did you become an MEP?

Perhaps a cliché, but also the truth: I am a European and I want to work with the future for all Europeans and not for Danes. The European Union is a union of shared values and not just a shared market. I want a free and open society for all European citizens with the right to free movement.  In these times, when our values of freedom, diversity and openness are under threat. We need to renew europe. We must have a Europe providing solutions addressing our challenges of today and tomorrow. Don’t touch my Schengen! Keep my internet free!

3.            Tell us something about yourself that our readers are unlikely to know

My family’s history of migration and flight makes me appreciate that I can travel, because I want to not because I have to and that I can live freely in Europe.

My grandmother’s family were Huguenots who found refuge in Denmark after the 1685 Edict of Fontainebleau made Protestantism illegal in France. My grandfather’s family were Jews from Altona outside of Hamburg that moved to Copenhagen in late 1700’s. My great grandfather was the Danish composer Niels W Gade. He was chief conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig but had to return to Copenhagen when war broke out between Prussia and Denmark in 1848. My father and his family escaped to Sweden as a Jewish refugee in October 1943.

4.            What issue(s) will you be focusing on?

Securing an open and free internet for a free society. Technology profoundly affects our daily life and societies, but legislation is not keeping up. Europe is not quite fit for the digital era. We must be more innovative and competitive globally in order to integrate our European rights and values in the development of technology of the future. We must also ensure that the voices of consumers and citizens are listen to as much as the big companies of “tech giants”.

A free and open society for all regards of who they are or who they love. A Europe truely united in diversity, based on equality.

5.            What are you looking for from the new European Commission?

Action on stopping global warming. Infrastructure for alternatives to air travel. Woman finally get equal opportunities and rights – we are tired of waiting. Mediocre men will have to step up or step aside. Digital ambitions based on rights not on protecting old business models. Modern legislation corresponding to our modern and innovative Europe. But – just like Elvis Presley – I want a little less legislation, a little more action!

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Karen Melchior

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