Elisabeth Alteköster, MEP candidate for the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the EP and member of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) in Belgium begins by addressing the future of education in Europe. When asked if education policies are effective and how they should be improved, she makes reference to studies that reveal the failure of education systems in many EU member states to equip students with the knowledge and skills to progress in the world. She concludes that education needs to be more output oriented. Regarding diversity and inclusion in education, Ms. Alteköster responds that systems are currently overloaded with newcomers and the learning process has become chaotic to the disadvantage of students that are further ahead. She suggests that there needs to be a step by step integration of new students into schools.
In response to what the EU can learn from Belgium and Brussels as multicultural communities, Ms. Alteköster states that Belgium and the Flanders - Wallonie divide demonstrates that living together is a difficult exercise. She refers to the language barrier and the doubling of institutions, as well as the different levels of governance creating issues of bureaucracy and failing to deal with diversity. As a solution she argues for regional autonomy under one common government, where all communities decide on policies as one and not against one another.
Regarding EU identity and how it is used in national politics, Elisabeth Alteköster states that it tends to be misused by politicians to promote their agendas, as she suggests was often the case for Brexit. She states that it is difficult to define the role of her group, the ECR, in the upcoming EP elections as it is not a homogenous group but that hers and her party’s perspective is not EU sceptical but EU critical, calling for change where necessary.
On the issue of climate change and the question of whether policy makers should be consulting with oil and gas lobbyists, Ms. Alteköster believes that the dialogue between politicians and producers is necessary in order to move forward in a responsible way, considering the reliance of our society on these fuels. She also refers to the need to address how change will affect employment and for the EU to invest in reconversion projects for those affected.
Finally on the issue of culture in the future of Europe, Ms. Alteköster insists that any budget cuts would be a mistake and that culture is equally important to other sectors as it is about education of people and building their minds, opinions and identity. She considers the promoting of ‘alternative’ culture that falls outside of the market economy system to be one of the key challenging issues for the EU and calls for a greater effort towards achieving this.