EU Representative in Việt Nam discusses European Parliament election

June 07, 2024 - 08:55
EU Representative in Việt Nam Julien Guerrier talks to National Assembly TV about the European Parliament Election.
EU Representative in Việt Nam Julien Guerrier. VNA/VNS Photo

The European Parliament elections will officially take place from June 6-9th. So how has the preparation for the election been carried out?

First, let me thank the National Assembly TV for having me for this interview. The European elections are a free and democratic process in which all EU citizens have the right to vote. The rules for voting and the voting process itself are determined and carried out by each member state. And we estimate that the total amount of people eligible to vote in these elections is 360 million. So, as for the final turnout, we will have to wait until after the elections. But that's a lot of people. The EU cooperates with the member states to ensure that we have a secure, free and transparent election process. This includes fighting disinformation and foreign interference, with the Council of the European Union approving this month the “Conclusions on democratic resilience and safeguarding electoral processes from all forms of foreign interference” which informs on how we strengthen democratic resilience.

There have been several attacks on European Parliament members in Germany recently, raising security concerns. There are suggestions that these attacks were politically motivated. What effect do they have on the election? What is your opinion on this issue?

Well, the European Union and its member states obviously take security during elections and during the election campaign very seriously. We need to ensure that our citizens can freely make their decisions on voting without any fear or intimidation, coercion or repercussions for their choices. But I have to say that the incidents that you mentioned are rare, isolated, and do not reflect the reality on the ground where the campaigns can take place in a very free and secure manner.

What are voters' expectations for the new European Parliament term? What is your assessment of the role of young voters in this election?

Well, of course, each voter may have its own topic of importance to them, so it's difficult for us to decide what their expectations are. Some are interested in the economy, some in the defense of the European territory, others in migration. We will see what parties are voted for by the people and they will reflect, of course, the main concerns that the voters have. Young voters are a very important element of the democratic life because it will be for several of them, the first time that their voice can be heard as adults and as participants in the life of the city.

So what is your assessment of this year's election, given recent shifts and conflicts in the geopolitical landscape worldwide?

Well, we will see again after the elections. It's early to anticipate the outcome, but of course we are in a particular context where there is war in Europe, around Europe, and certainly this will influence the topics of importance for our citizens and in particular as regards defence and security of the European Union.

There is an opinion that the two main “themes” of the 2024 European Parliament elections are immigration, and inflation. Furthermore, the rise of far-right ideology is also an issue for this important election. What do you think about this opinion?

Well, there are many themes of interest for Europeans. We've just mentioned defence and security, certainly immigration and the cost of life, I would say, because inflation has been reduced in the latest months, are important topics for many voters. We will see what the parties are that mostly reflect their concerns and opinions and propose solutions to address those concerns. All parties have the right to participate in the elections and again, it is a free and democratic process. So we will take stock after the election to see which are the ones that gather most votes from our citizens.

What is your assessment on the prospects of relations between Việt Nam and the EU in the new European Parliament term?

Well, that I can anticipate a bit better, because there is a consensus in Europe that Việt Nam is a very important partner for us. Europe wants to be more present in the Indo Pacific. And in this context, Việt Nam is a special partner with which we have a large number of agreements and already very broad and deep relations with an FTA, strong trade and investment relations. Việt Nam is our first trading partner in the region with defence and security and a common objective to ensure security, peace and freedom of navigation in the East Sea. With the action against climate change and our mutual objective both in Europe and in Việt Nam, to be climate neutral by 2050, we are cooperating in all these fields and I can only see reinforcement, a further reinforcement of the already excellent, broad and deep relations that we have between the EU and Việt Nam, whatever the results of the election at the European Parliament are. VNS