Youngest MEP: ‘EU unemployment schemes have no value’

Anders Primdahl Vistisen [Europa-Parlamentet i Danmark/Flickr]

Anders Primdahl Vistisen [Europa-Parlamentet i Danmark/Flickr]

Anders Primdahl Vistisen is the youngest of all 751 MEPs who just began their term in Strasbourg. As a future member of the budget committees, Vistisen, a Danish People’s Party member, is focused on slimming down the budgets and also on the EU’s programmes on youth unemployment.

Anders Primdahl Vistisen (26), is an MEP for the Danish People’s Party, which recently joined the group of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). He is the youngest MEP in the new Parliament, born in November 1987. He spoke to EURACTIV’s Laurens Cerulus.

Youth unemployment has been Europe’s most pressing issue over the past years. What is your assessment of the situation?

I think the role the EU can play here is helping bring growth back. I think the only way and the best way Europe can do this is by developing a single market. The single market has been a success and needs to be developed further.

But I don’t think that social mechanisms or structural funds will help anything. 28 different countries have been hit differently by the crisis and I think the way out must be an individual solution for each country. A European solution is not the good approach; it needs to be dealt with in different ways.

So programmes like the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) are not helping Danish youngsters who are looking for a job?

I haven’t heard of anyone using the programme. I think things like the Guarantee schemes only work if you have you can turn it into something of value and I don’t think that is the case with these structures. I think it is more of a politician’s solution to say they’ve done something.

Would I end the programmes? Well, I think it is always a good goal for politicians that we have to find ways to increase jobs. I just don’t believe that it is a politician’s job to actually create jobs. That is up to the private sector. The only way to create this is to have a healthy private sector.

The Danish People’s Party is a new party in the European Conservatives and Reformists – one of many that joined the group after the EU elections. It is a wide range of parties, and you’re situated on the right side of the group. Do you think it’ll be easy to work together?

Well, the group expanded very much in the wake of the elections. I think we have had a very warm welcome there. We were already in cooperation with many of the parties there. [The Finns party and one Dutch MEP switched from the EFD group to ECR, together with the Danes.] I don’t think there will be any difficulties.

In our election campaign in Denmark we strongly supported the British PM David Cameron in his plea to reform the EU treaties. So in those terms, we’re very closely connected to the Tories in Great Britain.

And also the Finns party, we have a very good cooperation with them. I’d say these are our closest political allies, but overall we match with other members in our vision for the European Union.

The European Parliament now has a project called EU40, which groups all the young MEPs together. What is the common agenda for this group?

I think that when you’re young you don’t have the benefit of experience. But the older colleagues have the disadvantage of sometimes being blind sighted by experience, too. They shoot new ideas down, saying it has been tried in the past.

So maybe it is a good thing to come in with new, fresh ideas. I’m not putting any emphasis on my age, either, I think the most important parameter is my work here.

We have just announced the committees and I have been selected to work on the budgetary control as committee member and on budgets as substitute MEP. I would like to work on slimming the budget and limit the waste in structural funds and agricultural funds specifically.

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