Euronews hosted its first episode of a new talk show from Brussels that aims to break down European news and politics to make it more accessible to viewers.
From far-right Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s first official trip to Brussels to climate activists targeting works of art, the show covered a wide range of hot-button topics from the past week of news.
The first episode of the show featured panellists Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian MEP who co-chairs the Greens group in the European Parliament; Maria Demertzis, deputy director at the Bruegel think tank; and Eric Maurice, from the Robert Schuman Foundation.
The new show was hosted by Euronews’ European affairs correspondent Méabh Mc Mahon.
Watch the video above to see our newest Euronews talk show Brussels, my love?
New Italian PM ‘needs recovery funds’
The conversation kicked off with one of the most talked-about characters in European politics: Giorgia Meloni, the newly-appointed Italian prime minister.
The far-right leader met on Thursday with the leaders of the EU institutions, including Ursula von der Leyen, in a bid to demonstrate her commitment to European cooperation, despite previously lashing out against Brussels’ “techno bureaucrats.”
“We thought a few years ago that this would be a nightmare for the EU. Now they wanted to be considered as respectable, responsible. So we have to see how it will go. But of course, it’s a change of atmosphere, not only for Italy, but for the whole of the EU,” said Eric Maurice, head of the Robert Schuman Foundation’s Brussels office.
Maria Demertzis, deputy director at Bruegel, agreed that it could go either way, and that some “personalities” have previously followed the EU line.
Philippe Lamberts, the co-chair of the Greens party in the European Parliament, said however that he was not reassured by the new government in Italy.
“There’s only (right-wing) and two extreme right parties. So that’s what it is. So however respectable (Meloni) wants to appear, I know what the ideas of Fratelli d’Italia are,” he said.
Italy is set to receive about €200 billion in EU post-pandemic recovery funds making it the largest recipient.
“I think that she knows she needs the money and she won’t want, I think, to mess with Brussels on that,” said Lamberts.
“It would be a tactical mistake to the first thing to do to try and jeopardise the €200 billion,” said Demertzis.
‘The bird will fly under our rules’
The panel followed the discussion with another divisive figure: billionaire Elon Musk, who last week officially became the sole owner of Twitter. As soon as he became the platform’s CEO, Musk tweeted that the “bird is free.”
Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, warned Musk however that “in Europe, the bird will fly under our rules,” referring to digital legislation the bloc approved this year.
Will Musk clash with Europe’s digital rules?
“You need to allow for time for the new Twitter, as it were, to develop. But I think we’ve heard at the core of Europe’s DNA is personal data, is personal information. This is what Europe will protect,” said Demertzis.
Maurice added: “If people leave because they don’t trust what he’s doing, because you have too much disinformation, too much fake news and these kind of things, it’s not good for the image. And it would be more difficult for him to make business, to make money with it.”
Policymakers ‘totally deaf’ to climate crisis
There has been controversy surrounding recent climate activists’ targeting the masterpieces of renowned painters Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Johannes Vermeer.
The stunts received large media coverage but also drew intense criticism and shock over the act.
Is it vandalism or is it activism? Lamberts says that it is both.
“(For) half a century, we have had scientific evidence that our economic model will breach the planetary boundaries,” he said.
“When you look at policymaking, it has been totally deaf to that scientific evidence for half a century. Now we are starting to move and nowhere near fast enough. So I am not an advocate of violence, make no mistake about that. But we are now in the realm of non-violent civil disobedience,” he added.
Maurice argued however that “when you attack art, you attack culture and civilisation, which is the last limit before violence and, you know, just human not behaving civilised with civilisation to other human beings.”
But Lamberts said that it’s the economic system that is killing people and animals.
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