Vice-President Marc Angel described the allegations against his predecessor as a horrible shock and vowed the parliament will work to restore trust. He advocated for future EU enlargement and urged foreign residents in Luxembourg to register to vote.
● Marc Angel discussed his new role and the importance of restoring trust after the Qatargate scandal.
● The newly-elected Vice-President supports moving away from unanimity towards qualified majority at the European Council.
● Angel highlighted his belief that the EU’s success is key to the success of all member states.
Restoring TrustHis election to the position of Vice-President comes at a time when the European Parliament is dealing with accusations of corruption and money laundering from MEP Eva Kaili and 4 more S&D politicians. Angel, who is from the same political group, believes that his group must put in extra work to restore trust in the institution.
The scandal that hit the European Parliament, known as Qatargate (involving both Qatar and Morocco as of now), was a "horrible shock" for Angel. He stated: "We felt betrayed… We have to work as a Parliament very hard, [and] as the Socialist and Democrat group we have to work double hard" in order to restore trust.
The Vice-President was a guest on Conversations with Christos, to discuss his life and political career and answer questions about the future of his work.
The Future of Europe
In terms of his greatest achievements in the parliament so far, Angel cited his work in protecting minorities and his reputation that he says has made him known as a "Champion of Equality".
Angel is a staunch pro-European, saying; "Europe is so important for us. Everything that is good for Europe is good for Luxembourg… It’s good for all the member states”
The VP said “We can't continue blocking ourselves from moving forward because some governments stop us, especially as some forces, like Putin, Russia try to divide us” making reference to alleged election interference from Russia in European countries.
Regarding communication with European citizens, Angel praised the Conference on the Future of Europe as a process that allowed him to "directly connect and talk with civil society." He also supports moving away from unanimity saying "In order to get things done, we need to move away from the current system of unanimity and towards a qualified majority [in the European Council]. This will make the decision-making process more flexible and efficient."
In regards to the blocking of Romania and Bulgaria joining the Schengen Agreement, Angel firmly believes that "It's a total no-go, to make differences between member-states." He condemned the decision to block their acceptance, calling it a scandal, and praised Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn (LSAP) for his vocal reaction to the decision.
He said he is determined to work hard and bring about a positive change in the European Parliament.
The Vice-President also praised the European Green Deal and rebuked the far right for creating fear around the ecological transition, admitting that it comes with job losses but highlighting it also comes with the creation of new jobs, “if it has a red heart” and “if it is a social[ly] just transition”.
Call to action for 2023Finally, Marc Angel said he celebrates the diversity of Luxembourg, our openness and international population.
He urged residents of Luxembourg to register to vote and participate in the upcoming local elections, taking place across Luxembourg this June.
“I call on every non-Luxembourger, who lives here, works here, shares their lives with us, to register” said Angel.
Angel has been an MEP since 2019 and currently serves as the Vice Chair on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. Prior to entering European politics, he spent 15 years as an MP in Luxembourg, serving as the Chairman of the Chamber's Committee for Foreign and European Affairs for the last five years.
Conversations with Christos returns February 7 2023. Christos Floros will host Deputy-Mayor Lydie Polfer who, along with Alderman Patrick Goldschmidt, are the Democratic Party's top candidates for Luxembourg City in the 2023 municipal elections.