Former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, is a candidate for the European elections in Germany.
And he is not the only one. Other European politicians have also chosen to run in other countries like a former Europe minister from Italys Matteo Renzi socialists, Sandro Gozi. He has joined La Republique en Marche.
During an interview with Euronews, Sandro Gozi, former Italian secretary for EU affairs, has said: “We cannot have a European democracy if we don’t have European transnational political forces. We are 6 European citizens candidates with a different nationality from the French one, it really embodies the idea of politics without borders”.
Among the cross border candidates, there are also a few faces with familiar surnames. Like the young French man Nicolas Barnier, he is the son of the EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. The Prime Minister Charles Michel invited him to join the French speaking Belgian liberals. But his challenge now is to win over Belgian voters, who barely know him.
“Of course I am French but we can be patriots and Europeans, they are not two incompatible concepts. We have to bear in mind that voting for EU elections it is about voting for a project rather than a person. Concerning my surname: me it’s me and my father is my father. He has his own commitments as I have mines”, Nicolas Barnier pointed out.
To date, only 4 MEPs have been elected outside their home country. And in the 2019 EU elections although there will be at least 20 cross border candidates, there will not be transnational lists.
But how likely are they to get a seat in the next European Parliament? This Eu watcher Eric Maurice believes these cross-border candidates have symbolic importance for European integration.
Eric Maurice, expert from Robert Schuman Foundation, has explained that “Those cross-border candidates are rarely in the top position in the list to be elected, so the number of people that manage to get a seat at the European Parliament is too low to see which real differences they can bring, which added value they can bring to the work of the EP”.
The idea of translational lists was launched by Macron to reallocate the vacant seats leftover from Brexit, but the idea was rejected. Now, as the UK is taking part in the elections it could be 2024 before the idea become a reality.