According to Raquel García, MEP candidate for D66, culture is one of the elements that brings Europeans together and creates a sense of belonging throughout Europe. It is part of European identity and she wants to promote it as such. She supports initiatives that highlight this jointed culture, including the creation of a European museum, to help people access the huge European cultural heritage in an affordable and egalitarian way. Although, for this to be achieved in a practical way, she points out that the support from national cultural sectors will be necessary.
Raquel García believes that the Erasmus programme is one of the biggest successes of the European project, as well as one of its most effective integration motors. She therefore wants to expand the programme, not only in terms of budget but also in terms of scope. Right now, it is only accessible for students of higher education, but the MEP candidate suggests that it also becomes available for technical or artistic degrees. Furthermore, she recognizes that one of the main challenges for Erasmus students is finding accommodation. The programme should provide more support for them to find adequate housing.
As a strong defender of animal welfare, she points out the numerous impacts it can have not only for animals, but also for public health, public safety and the common market. Instead of keeping it as a national matter, she suggests it becomes a shared competence between Member States and the EU.
The MEP candidate also wants to promote a truly jointed European defence strategy and army. Right now, every country organizes its own defence and military resources and has its own decision making power. She believes a defence strategy at the EU level would help protect our interest in the world, because we need to show that we can act together. Beyond that, on the economic front, it would be more practical to ensure that countries are not competing against each other so that we can adequately equip our troops and ensure that they can protect Europeans and people all around the world.
Raquel García highlights the need to implement a basic minimum of good working conditions all over Europe. A balance has to be found between the search for equality within Europe and the freedom of movement, the freedom for people to decide where they want to live and work. She strongly believes this needs to be a priority in European policy.
She also deplores the fact that European values are under threat, because of displays of complete disdain of the core democratic values in certain countries. She mentions LGBT rights in Poland and the rule of law in Hungary as examples. She asks us to be vigilant during the upcoming elections not to let extreme right or anti-EU parties develop.