Blog: Talking Europe – Brexit deal is ‘damage control – now it’s time for reality’: French MEP Nathalie Loiseau – FRANCE 24

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“Damage control”: that’s how France’s former Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau describes the Brexit deal struck between Boris Johnson’s UK government and the European Commission on Christmas Eve. Now an MEP and chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence, Loiseau says it’s time to face the reality of frictions in trade between the UK and the EU. She also calls for a fully-fledged treaty on security and defence: ”We are facing the same threats, the same challenges. We have to work together.”

At the start of a New Year that’s already seen shock resonate around the world after Donald Trump-supporting rioters stormed the US Capitol, Loiseau says: “We should not take for granted that democracies are forever.”

She adds that social media networks should be made to take more responsibility: “[Democracies] are under attack from disinformation and violent attacks. This violent movement against a parliament should be a wake-up call for all of us.”

As for those calling for Europe to lessen its reliance on the United States, particularly as concerns defence, Loiseau believes more European defence autonomy is needed, while remaining a part of NATO: “There are issues on which we have to be autonomous […] We should be able to act on our own every time we have to.”

On the Covid-19 pandemic – with infection rates rising in Europe, and France slow to vaccinate its population, she calls for patience, saying that governments are “building trust in the vaccine. It’s a new pandemic, a new vaccine […] There was a need to take the necessary time to build trust. Now we see in the polls that more and more French people are willing to get vaccinated and that is a first victory.”

Produced by Perrine Desplats and Isabelle Romero

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