Merkel or Macron, waffle or frites? - European politicos tell all | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

16 January, Wednesday


Merkel or Macron, waffle or frites? - European politicos tell all

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister, and others answer the big questions.

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It's Christmas, so even European politicos need a break from politics. POLITICO asked a select few from the Brussels bubble and beyond some quick-fire questions on their loves, hates and hopes for the new year. Here's what they said:

MATTEO SALVINI  Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior

What made you most angry in 2018?
The absence of Europe on some big issues like migration.

When were you most in love in 2018?
This period is politically and sentimentally complicated. So we still have [several] days to go, I hope to give an answer [then].

What are your hopes for 2019?
Work ... Work and tranquility.

What is your country’s greatest attribute?
The sacrifice, the genius, the commitment, the fantasy, the adaptability: We are the best from that point of view.

Beach holiday or ski resort?
Mountains.

Merkel or Macron?
Merkel.

Juncker or Tusk?
Let’s move on.

Waffle or frites?
Frites.

Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook.

Beatles or Beethoven?
Beatles.

Bicycle or sports car?
Bicycle.

 


MIRIAM DALLI  Maltese MEP and part of the POLITICO 28 Class of 2019

What made you most angry in 2018?
From a political perspective, I think it was the way Matteo Salvini reacted to the migration issue — sometimes opening a front with Malta when the two countries, in my view, should have to work together. But I am not pessimistic about the possibility of having the two countries work together on a common issue.

When were you most in love in 2018?
I am in love everyday when I wake up and see the faces of my two kids.

What are your hopes for 2019?
To be able to actually move forward certain policies in the environmental sphere and to make people understand that we need to act when it comes to environmental issues, because it's not only a question of looking after our economies. If we don’t look after our environment and climate change, we don’t have any economies to protect. From a personal point of view, I hope to have a very good result in the MEP election next year and to see my children doing well.

What is your country’s greatest attribute?
That we are a very small country, but we have people who work really hard and people who make sure that in everything we do we try to make much more than what a small country would probably do. We have people who in everything they do they punch above our weight.

Beach holiday or ski resort?
Beach holiday.

Merkel or Macron?
Macron.

Juncker or Tusk?
Tusk.

Waffle or frites?
Frites.

Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook.

Beatles or Beethoven?
Beatles.

Bicycle or sports car?
Bicycle.

 


GUÐRIÐ HØJGAARD  Director of tourism for Visit Faroe Islands and part of the POLITICO 28

What made you most angry in 2018?
Probably something with Donald Trump.

When were you most in love in 2018?
I think I am in love every time I go to a new place, that is what inspires me most in life. This year I went to a lot of places, but this is actually only the second time I went to Brussels. The last time I was in love was yesterday when I was in Galicia, Spain.

What are your hopes for 2019?
My hopes are for a strong Europe and that everything will work out well with Brexit. In general, you do feel concerned about everything about our world with the U.S. and all things political. I think often it’s scary with the world’s leaders.

What is your country’s greatest attribute?
Definitely the nature, that’s the reason why people visit us.

Beach holiday or ski resort?
Beach holiday.

Merkel or Macron?
Macron ... No actually, I would actually say Merkel, because she has done such a great job, she is a strong woman and has been there for quite a long time.

Juncker or Tusk?
I don’t know them well enough.

Waffle or frites?
Waffles.

Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook.

Beatles or Beethoven?
Beethoven.

Bicycle or sports car?
Bicycle.

 


MÁRTA PARDAVI  Co-chair of the human rights group the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and part of the POLITICO 28

What made you most angry in 2018?
That’s a list that one. Of all the things that one could be angry about when it comes to Hungary and human rights, the one that made me most angry was criminalizing homelessness.

When were you most in love in 2018?
In July.

What are your hopes for 2019?
I have rationally optimistic hopes for 2019. For the context that concerns me most, which is Hungary, I would want more liberty, more pluralism, more diversity. For Europe, I would want less panic, less pessimism, more optimism, more dialogue and sanity.

What is your country’s greatest attribute?
That we have the most creative language on earth.

Beach holiday or ski resort?
Beach.

Merkel or Macron?
Merkel.

Juncker or Tusk?
Tusk.

Waffle or frites?
Frites.

Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter, because even though both are vampires at time, Twitter is more useful.

Beatles or Beethoven?
Beethoven.

Bicycle or sports car?
Sports car, but I don’t drive.

 


TAMÁS IVÁN KOVÁCS  Hungarian ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg

What made you most angry in 2018?
Hard to say, there are a few good candidates for this, but the Sargentini report [by a Dutch Green MEP into alleged breaches by Hungary of EU core values] clearly wins in this department. And Brexit makes me thoroughly sad.

When were you most in love in 2018?
During a two-week minimalist backpacking trip with my wife of 20 years in the Himalayas — beyond words magical experience trekking in the Annapurnas. I would go back with my wife tomorrow if I could. No, why wait until tomorrow?

What are your hopes for 2019?
That the Hungarian football team qualifies for Euro 2020 and changing the downward electoral participation trend at the European elections.

What is your country’s greatest attribute?
There are so many! Talent and pride come first to mind in the land of Bartók and Kodály, 13 Nobel Prize winners and 177 Olympic Gold medals and 502 medals in total. The Rubik's cube, Neumann’s computer and Bíró’s ballpoint pen are pretty cool too. I also admire the Belgian compromise and Luxembourg’s successful business attitude — countries to which I am accredited as ambassador.

Beach holiday or ski resort?
Football camp with my sons.

Merkel or Macron?
Helmut Kohl.

Juncker or Tusk?
Robert Schuman.

Waffle or frites?
Both and chocolate, beer and mussels. But a good lángos [Hungarian fried bread] first!

Facebook or Twitter?
Tough, let’s call it a draw.

Beatles or Beethoven?
Both, plus Liszt and Stromae.

Bicycle or sports car?
Walking and running.

 


BAS EICKHOUT  Dutch MEP and Spitzenkandidat for the European Greens 

What made you most angry in 2018?
Politicians in office who are once again shouting en masse that they are in favour of a different Europe — this is particularly true of the Christian democrats and social democrats. They have been calling the shots for years and witnessed people getting angry, and now they are shouting: We want a different Europe. It's not credible and it's undermining Europe.

When were you most in love in 2018?
I am happiest and most in love when walking in the mountains, during a summer holiday. Far away, no cell phone coverage: only the impressive mountains and nature. 

What are your hopes for 2019?
That it will be a good campaign about the course of Europe. Everyone is working on a certain Europe, but during the campaign a completely different, flat debate emerges: You are either for or against Europe. I hope instead that the debate will about the vision of Europe, so that voters can see the differences. And of course that for us [the Greens] a green sound will stand out.

What is your country’s greatest attribute?
We're blunt and direct, but you do know what you can expect from us. 

Beach holiday or ski resort?
Ski resort, but preferably in the summer to walk in the mountains.

Merkel or Macron?
Merkel.

Juncker or Tusk?
Tusk.

Waffle or frites?
Frites.

Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter.

Beatles or Beethoven?
Easy one, Beatles

Bicycle or sports car?
Bicycle, predictably, but also because in Brussels you will get stuck all the time in Brussels traffic in a sports car.

 


JUSTIN BROWN  Australia's ambassador to the EU

What made you most angry in 2018?
I don’t get angry ... but some things made me slightly irritated: Road rage, people who lack generosity, the Australian cricket team’s performance, wilful dismissal of Neville Chamberlain as a figure of historical significance, and Avenue Louise at peak hour.

When were you most in love in 2018?
April 7, and no I’m not explaining why.

Also, I was thrilled to be in Ypres this year when Australia gifted magnificent replicas of the Menin Gate lion statues to the city as a reminder of the unique bond between Australia and Belgium which was highlighted this year, the centenary of the end of the First World War.

What are your hopes for 2019?
A North Melbourne premiership would be good (that’s an Australian sporting reference), but more realistically I am hoping to see a more-than-generous sprinkling of supporters of strong Australia-EU links in the incoming Commission in November.

What is your country’s greatest attribute?
In no particular order, Clare Valley Shiraz, Coffin Bay oysters, barbecues of all shapes and sizes, and its wonderfully gutsy and irreverent people.

Beach holiday or ski resort?
Beach, Port Willunga, South Australia.

Merkel or Macron?
Nice try.

Juncker or Tusk?
Ditto.

Waffle or frites?
Waffle, Liege.

Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter.

Beatles or Beethoven?
Kinks and Greig.

Bicycle or sports car?
Either, but only vintage.

 


CORNELIA KUTTERER  Senior director of EU government affairs, privacy and policy at Microsoft

What made you most angry in 2018?
My kids.

When were you most in love in 2018?
Every day.

What are your hopes for 2019?
That my architect actually does my renovation.

What is your country’s greatest attribute?
We have no humor [in Germany].

Beach holiday or ski resort?
Beach holiday.

Merkel or Macron?
Merkel.

Juncker or Tusk?
No answer.

Waffle or frites?
Frites.

Facebook or Twitter?
That is a very hard one.

Beatles or Beethoven?
Beethoven.

Bicycle or sports car?
Bicycle.

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