Thursday, June 20, 2019
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in Brussels with Judith Sargentini, or Europe at high speed

MEP Judith Sargentini leaves the European Parliament for a luncheon on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Brussels, Belgium on 2 April 2019.


By Allan Kaval

"The World" was able to follow the Dutch Green MP, famous for her defense of the rule of law, which ends her term between frenzy of the last parliamentary weeks and concerns about the future of the Union.

The Brussels weeks of the Dutch environmentalist MEP Judith Sargentini always start at a high speed, in a Thalys launched from Amsterdam through the borderless expanses of the Flanders plain. "I read the newspaper, I look out the window … It's a bit my only moment of respite before the storm," She says. Because as soon as she sets foot on the platform of the station of Brussels-Midi, as on this Monday 1st April late morning, Mme Sargentini begins a marathon that will last until the following Thursday evening. A daily made of struggles for influence between European institutions, power relations and tight negotiations in committee, punctuated by fast walks through the labyrinth of blue carpeting, drawing on the gray Parliament.

By signing in 2018 a damning report on the violations of the rule of law in Hungary by Viktor Orban, Judith Sargentini, then little known in her country of origin, has gained notoriety that now extends beyond the facades glazed windows of the European district of Brussels. The populist and authoritarian prime minister in power in Budapest has made the 45-year-old MEP one of her pet peeves. But after ten years in parliament, devoted mainly to the defense of the rule of law and migration issues, this figure of the European Greens, which leaves his colleagues environmental issues, will not seek a new mandate. "I would have no problem getting re-elected, my fight against Orban made me know, She says. But I want to move on, we must leave room for fresh minds, new eyes! "

MEP Judith Sargentini in the subway on her way to the European Parliament on April 1st.
MEP Judith Sargentini in the subway on her way to the European Parliament on April 1st. LUCAS BARIOULET FOR "THE WORLD"

Power relations between Member States and Parliament

No question however for Mme Sargentini to slow down the pace of approaching the end of his term, and a few weeks of the European elections. After a short crossing of Brussels by metro – "To avoid traffic jams and because it's even greener than the company cars! – and a brief meal with her colleagues in the Parliament canteen, the MEP, still dressed in green in the performance of her duties, elaborates with assistants and counselors the plan of battle of the days to come. On the wall of his office, the "one" framed of the Dutch social-democratic newspaper From Volkskrant September 12, 2018, a memory of a victory that is just beginning to turn yellow. She appears there in photo in the hemicycle, moved in the middle of her colleagues. His report on Hungary, paving the way for sanctions, has just been voted.


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