Petra de Sutter, MEP candidate for the Flemish Greens in the Europian parliament elections, insists on the need to protect cultural diversity in Europe, as we are united in our diversity. It is part of the EU’s role and its values. She also adds that minority voices are an important component of this reality. The Europe of today is faced with so much division and hate speech; she believes that the cultural field can contribute to fight this and to enhance the idea of a European identity in a constructive and inclusive way. Culture, education and research are all part of a positive agenda to bring people together. There is such a thing as European identity and a common European heritage and we need to promote it. Moreover, she points out that national politicians do not defend enough the EU project. Artistic freedom and cultural identity can contribute to fight this populism.
The MEP candidate also explains that the EU has been failing at bringing citizens together in areas such as education, health and social systems, because it has been focusing too much on the economic and financial fields. According to her, Europe should be more of a social project, used to protect citizens and ensure they have access to social rights. Petra de Sutter fully believes in the values of programmes such as Creative Europe and supports initiatives to increase its budget. She also highlights the need to invest in education, for instance by expanding the Erasmus programme to other levels than university.
As a candidate for the Greens, Petra de Sutter insists on the need to reduce our consumption. It is a mistake to believe that technology can solve every ecological issue. This is an easy solution provided by populist parties. It is not ethical that future generations will have to pay for the consumption of today; it is a matter of solidarity. This issue is at the core of the Greens programme. Right now, the most urgent action that needs to be taken to fight climate change is to make sure that the CO2 emission reduction goals are reached. Most importantly, this has to be done in a socially correct way.