I say Europe, you say…? Interview with Hans-Gert Pöttering

I say Europe, you say…?


In our last interview, MEP David Mc Allister’s question to you was: “Where do you see the European Union in 20 years?” 

With citizens who have a strong European identity and who are defending our values both inside and outside of the Union.

What was the most interesting myth about the EU you needed to bust in your career?

In the early 90s, the British Royal Family was not very popular and in Britain there was a rumor that the EU had a plan to abolish their Kingdom. My answer was that the British can only do it themselves. In the end, I am happy that the Royal Family is still accepted.

What advice did you give your sons when they started doing politics?

I didn’t give them any advice, they didn’t ask for it, they just did it.

Recently you presented your book United for the Better: My European Way in Brussels. What do you miss most about living there?

I had a very good time in the European Parliament and I am very thankful for that but I don’t miss Brussels.

What is your favourite Konrad Adenauer quote?

‘The situation is serious but not hopeless’.

Being at the forefront of advocating for the big-bang enlargement, what do you think are the prospects for a new enlargement?

We need to do it very carefully because we need the backing of the people of the European Union.

Who is your favourite movie character of all time and why?

Miss Marple, because I like crime stories where you can also enjoy and laugh.

What is your favourite moment from European history, depicted in the House of European History?

The description of the change from communism to liberty in 1989-90.

How do you think the present moment we are living in will be depicted in the House?

As a moment of challenge which we have successfully overcome.

What was the most awkward moment you experienced as President of the European Parliament?

It was the signing of the Charter of Human Rights, in the EP in Strasbourg on 12 December 2007. The anti-European members created a chaos in the Parliament and the King of Jordan, Abdullah II waited to make his speech.

What about most amusing moment?

It could be when Dalai Lama addressed me as a ‘comrade’. I said to him: ‘Your holiness, I prefer you call me a friend’ to which he replied ‘my friend’.

German or Belgian beer?


Working in Academia or in Politics?

Politics with intelligence and emotion.

Historical or crime novels?

Crime novels with historical background.

Which EPP colleague would you suggest for our next interview? What would be your question for her or him?

I would like to ask Ramon Luis Valcárcel Siso the following question: how do you see the relations between the regions in Spain and the Spanish state in the framework of the EU?