Romanian UT student wants to tackle EU corruption

| Paul de Kuyper

Romanian UT student of European Studies, Antonia Raileanu, is on the list of candidates of a new Dutch party for European Parliament. By means of the website she wants to tackle corruption, work towards greater European integration and make free transport for students possible.

Photo by: Universiteit Twente
A Romanian student on a Dutch list of candidates. That really does sound European.

‘That is one of the ideas behind our party. It doesn't matter whether you are Spanish, Dutch or Romanian; if you live in the Netherlands, your name can go onto our list. What we really want is for people to be able to vote for European parties. If I support a Belgian party, I want to be able to vote for it, even if I do live in the Netherlands. At the moment this is not possible. Perhaps in five year's time.’

What does advocate?

‘We want to combat corruption on a European level. People think this is a problem in Romania and Bulgaria, but they have no idea how bad it is in other countries. Corruption exists everywhere. Yes, even in the Netherlands. It undermines the economy. Every year the Dutch government misses out on 12 billion euros. We choose honesty and we want to tackle such corruption from within Brussels.’

Can you cite an example of corruption in the Netherlands?

‘In Romania I have often seen how it takes an envelope with money to get something done. This type of corruption doesn't happen here in the Netherlands. Here it is about public figures using their name to obtain personal advantages. They are misusing their fame for private gain.’

Is this the only issue you have?

‘In comparison with all the other parties, we want the most far-reaching European integration, more, for instance, than D66. One Europe and one type of currency demand one law. As a student, I see only advantages of a united Europe. We are free to go anywhere to study and work.’

Not everyone is so happy about that. Some people are afraid they will lose their jobs to eastern Europeans.

‘I don't believe this will happen. A multicultural society is extremely valuable and a free market actually helps combat unemployment.’

‘Another important point of view we feel very strongly about is free transport for students. The Netherlands wants to limit free travel with the student OV (public transport) chip card, but travelling free of charge is really important for students. We want it to be possible everywhere. Within countries, but also beyond their borders. It shouldn't have to be that expensive; if we were to eradicate corruption, the government would be able to put the 12 billion euros into this.’

You are number five on the list. What are your chances of getting chosen?

‘As a party we have agreed that, if we win a seat, the one with the most votes will go to Brussels. So this is not necessarily the person who is number one on the list.’

What are your chances of getting that seat?

‘We have a chance. In any case, our party is the one that wants to go furthest with European integration. Time is short, it was mid-March before I received an email saying that the party was going ahead, but we are going to do all we can to get into the European Parliament.’

Lots of campaigning to do then?

‘Yes, indeed, but I won't be going out sticking up placards. I focus on young people and will be making most noise via the social media. And I have already been invited to come and debate in Deventer and Rotterdam.’

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