Do you see your age as an impediment to your political work or an advantage?
My age is an advantage in my role as the youngest German member of the European Parliament. Being part of the younger generation, I am acutely aware of the long-term consequences of our policies on the planet. It also helps me to represent the concerns of younger generations. They are increasingly engaged in sustainability issues. In politics, diversity of age and perspective is crucial. My age enhances rather than hinders my ability to drive change.
Are you taken seriously by older politicians or voters?
Older politicians of other parties sometimes don’t know me. They feel embarrassed when they find out that I am a member of parliament. Within our party, we commit to diversity and inclusivity.
Our party recognizes that young politicians bring fresh perspectives and a deep commitment to challenges like a real circular economy. Our voters understand that it's not about age but about the dedication and the quality of the ideas and solutions I present.
Qatargate highlighted the importance of upholding ethical standards in public office and maintaining the public's trust in our political leaders and institutions
How do you handle public criticism of you or your political allies on social media?
On social media, hate against young and green politicians grows. Handling this criticism, especially on social media, is part of being a politician. When it comes to hate or personal attacks, I generally choose to ignore them.
Engaging with hate never leads to productive conversations. However, when someone genuinely doesn't understand our position, I want to explain it and engage constructively. I believe in the power of open and respectful dialogue. So, I provide context and share information that helps them better understand our perspective.
Do you find that you are assigned/choose specific work dossiers because of your age?
I am working in the European Parliament's Committees on Environment (ENVI), Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), and Development (DEVE). Members allocate the files depending on their expertise, interests, and priorities. Age is not the primary factor; it's about competence and the ability to drive positive change in these areas.
My committee assignments match my knowledge, background, and areas of expertise. I work on dossiers related to the environment, internal market, consumer protection, and development because these are fields where I can make a meaningful contribution.
What changes could be made in the European Parliament's work so that it has more contacts/relevance with/for young people?
Enhancing the European Parliament's relevance for young people is essential to represent younger people in politics. Here are some changes that propose to achieve this:
Engage in Youth Outreach Campaigns: The European Parliament could launch targeted outreach campaigns aimed at young people, leveraging social media, popular influencers, and educational institutions to disseminate information about its work, initiatives, and opportunities for engagement.
Youth Advisory Boards: Establishing youth advisory boards or councils within the European Parliament, comprising young individuals from diverse backgrounds, can provide valuable input and new perspectives on various issues. These boards can advise on policies and initiatives that directly impact young people.
Digital Engagement Platforms: Develop user-friendly digital platforms or apps that allow young people to easily access information about European Parliament activities, participate in discussions, and provide feedback on legislative proposals. These platforms should be interactive and inclusive.
Incorporate Youth Feedback: Consider and incorporate feedback from young people in the policymaking process. Show that their opinions matter by reflecting their input in legislative decisions.
Encourage Youth Representation: Promote the candidacy of young individuals in European Parliament elections and encourage political parties to include young candidates in their lists.
By implementing these changes, the European Parliament can foster a stronger connection with young people, increase their awareness of its work, and empower them to actively participate in shaping the future of the European Union.
Qatargate shocked me and my friends/contacts. We discussed the urgent need for transparency.
What kind of conversations did you have with your friends/contacts after Qatargate?
Qatargate shocked me and my friends/contacts. We discussed the urgent need for transparency and accountability in politics to prevent such incidents in the future. This event highlighted the importance of upholding ethical standards in public office and maintaining the public's trust in our political leaders and institutions.
What changes would you like to see in the EP's work in light of this, but which you're sceptical will ever take place?
In light of events like Qatargate, there are several changes I would like to see in the European Parliament's work to enhance transparency and accountability. Some of the changes I would like to see:
Whistleblower Protection: Enhancing protections for whistleblowers who expose unethical or illegal activities within the EP, ensuring they can come forward without fear of reprisal.
Financial Disclosure: Detailed financial disclosures from MEPs to shed light on potential financial conflicts of interest.
While these changes could significantly enhance transparency and accountability within the European Parliament, scepticism arises from the challenges of implementing such reforms within a complex and often politically-divided institution.
The most important files Gallée worked on for the last legislative term 2019-2023:
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