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Lave K. Broch of the People’s Movement Against the EU represents a left-leaning, but otherwise cross-political anti-EU platform
Decentralizing power, global solidarity, and protecting the environment and the Nordic welfare state. These are the four main pillars under the political platform of the People’s movement of the EU (Folkebevægelsen mod EU).
We sat down with Lave K. Broch, the group’s number two, to get a closer look.
“We’re not a party, we’re a cross-political movement, so our members come from different Danish parties or are no party members”, explains Lave.
At a current opinion poll for the European Parliamentary election, the People’s Movement stands at 8.33 per cent, which will give them one seat. In the current parliament, the movement’s only parliamentarian is associated with GUE-NGL, which is, according to Lave, “a technical association, we can vote independently”.
The People’s Movement, while being a cross-political platform is united by their principal opposition to the current structure of the EU and Danish membership.
“I believe EU is built on a wrong foundation and the centralization of power has undermined democracy. We’re in principle against the EU membership, but the this is not on the agenda in the EP, so there we want to decentralize power from within and have agreed on a number of other positions”, explains Lave.
One of these positions is on the economic policy of the European Union.
“If you look at the whole austerity policy of EU, EU has actually worsened the economic crisis, by pressing the countries to cut down very fast. I think in a crisis situation you should stimulate trust, and you should stimulate that people are buying things”.
The political positions beyond EU-criticism and decentralization also help to distinguish the People’s Movement from the Danish People’s Party (DF).
“We have a pillar on global solidarity and I don’t think DF spends many seconds looking at EUs fishing agreements with African countries, or caring about the refugees that die trying to get into Europe,” explains Lave.
“Another issue is limiting weapons trade, EU is the second-largest exporter of weapons. And we’re very concerned about environmental issues, we must do everything we can to switch to sustainable energy,” he adds.
“Finally, we have an anti-racist platform. I think there is a problem in the whole EU, that intolerance is growing, and I think fighting this should be a number one priority, and I don’t think DF would agree,” he finishes the distinction.
In principle, Lave supports the possibility for people to move across borders to live and study in another country, but he’s skeptical if the EU is the right actor for supporting that.
“I think it’s great to have common funds, but we don’t need a union and superstate for that. The Erasmus program includes e.g. Switzerland and Norway, and we should coordinate higher education beyond the EU, for example through the Council of Europe,” says Lave.
Asked if he would support extending Erasmus funds within the EU Budget, he answers:
“I’d rather support Erasmus than huge factory farmers, so if the money came from there, yes. But if it’s money that would go to developing aid, or if it’s money that doesn’t exist, no. I don’t think we should centralize more money in the EU system”.
“I think universities should decide on their cooperations independently.”
As regards student finances and the access to SU, Lave doesn’t like to distinguish between EU and non-EU citizens.
“I think everyone who lives in Denmark must be treated equally and I think it’s strange that e.g. Ethiopians should be treated differently as Austrians. But the concrete rules should be made in Denmark”.
When it comes to access to regulation at EU-level, Lave is wary of overstraining the tax-financed welfare states.
“I think it’s great that people can come and study for free, and that’s because we are paying high taxes. If we have this cooperation the national systems have to be protected from breaking down as well. If there come to many, than we perhaps have to make access rules stricter”.
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