MEP candidate: Polish EPP-ED chair ‘a sign of openness’

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Polish Civic Platform (PO) MEP Jerzy Buzek's nomination as chair of the European Parliament's centre-right EPP-ED group would be "a great sign of openness," Dominique Lesage, a Polish candidate of French origin running on the Warsaw list of Prime Minister Donald Tusk's PO party in the EU elections, told EURACTIV in an interview.

A Pole of French origin, Dominique Lesage is running for election to the European Parliament on the Warsaw list of Prime Minister Donald Tusk's Civic Platform (PO) party.

Whereas all EU citizens can run as candidates for the European elections in another EU country,  Nasz Dziennik , a catholic right-wing newspaper, last week disputed your candidacy, arguing that you were only granted Polish nationality last November. Do you perceive this as an attack?

Being dragged through the mud by such a newspaper is a great honour! I hope it will help me in my political campaign for the EU elections. Maybe it will have a small positive impact for me.

Poland’s Catholic Church has urged its followers to vote. Do you think the position of the Church is still important in Poland?

Nasz Dziennik luckily does not represent the Catholic Church in Poland. This daily newspaper is one part of Redemptorist father Tadeusz Rydzyk's media empire, which also includes Radio Maryja and the Trwam (I Endure) TV station. The Church keeps a certain distance on political issues and doesn't give any position. In my mind, urging followers to vote is positive.

You have spent the last 14 years in Poland as a senior executive at Canal+ Polska and now TPSA telephone company, which is controlled by France Telecom. What has changed?

A lot has changed! I came to Poland for the first time in the summer of 1975 and stayed here four years, working as an actor in Tadeusz Kantor's famous company in Kraków. Then, I studied architecture in France and came back in 1995. Since 2004, Poles have understood how they can benefit from Europe, particularly in terms of funding. The fear that Polish identity could be diluted into the EU was unfounded.

Your are in fifth position on Warsaw's Civic Platform list, Prime Minister Donald Tusk's party. Why have you decided to enter politics?

At 57 years old, I wanted to do something useful and the Civic Platform Party was looking for specialists in the telecommunications field. Thus I started! In all these fields – telephone, Internet, media – Poland should be more prominent. Moreover, Poles are very active, imaginative, full of enthusiasm.

Former Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek could become the next president of the European Parliament if the PO wins the elections with a large majority.

Jerzy Buzek's nomination would be a great sign of openness. It would give Poles confidence and would recognise their dynamism in the EU. Some Polish MEPs were not very active during the first legislature, but now Poles have understood the mechanisms of the EU.

(Dominique Lesage was speaking to Hervé Devavry.)

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