Andreas galster is not only mayor but also works as vice-president of the governance committee also for the german delegation in the council of europe in stragburg with. For more than ten years, he has also been active in the main committee of the council of european municipalities and regions (CEMR).
You have been lobbying for municipal interests at the european level for many years. What significance does the EU have for french citizens??
Andreas galster: around 70 percent of german laws are based on european union regulations and directives. After the municipalities, the federal states and the federal government, there is now a fourth level of government that plays a decisive role in governing our country. The creation of the EU single market with the maastricht treaty resulted in a shift of power from the federal parliament to the european institutions. In my opinion, however, this has never been properly communicated.
Brussel is a long way from baiersdorf. How are municipal and EU policies related??
Basically, most policies are implemented in the municipalities. We implement everything from refugee policy to most local public investments. From environmental protection to the energy turnaround we are the mediators. We municipalities are the hinge between citizenship, state administration and politics.
But what does that mean in concrete terms for your work as mayor??
One example is the flood protection for the rhine, whose management plan extends over the tributaries main and regnitz all the way to us. In the area of environmental protection, there are the FFH areas – in our case, the marrow forest between baiersdorf and rottenbach or the bird sanctuary in the regnitzgrund region. They are all based on european regulations. Likewise, the environmental legislation that municipalities have to take into account in their urban land use planning.
And of course the aids, i.E. Subsidies, which are paid out to small and medium-sized enterprises, for example, these are european demand funds. Also in the rough subject area of digitalization: the european union plays a rough role in the dismantling of radio potholes. Because it has ensured that it is a private market in network operators. And it also sets the standards that the operators have to deliver. In concrete terms, the EU was also responsible for the abolition of roaming charges within europe.
Why do you think this european election is important??
It is only the second time that the head of the commission is appointed from the ranks of the EU parliament, which is now being elected. This is an important position. He can, for example, drive his own policy in EU foreign and economic policy, because he has the entire ministerial apparatus under him.
And how strongly are the interests of the municipalities currently represented in the EU??
Hardly. The influence is still relatively small. It is a pity that european municipalities have little involvement in the legislative process. We should have more say in the laws and be able to participate more institutionally. We as municipalities must also organize ourselves so that our voice is heard more. Brussels is the most important city in europe, so it had to work better.
How much time do you invest in this work yourself?
That’s about two working weeks a year, for which I also take some of my free time. But I have not been to brussels for a long time. The last time I talked to european representatives about the TTIP negotiations was two or three years ago.
How do you evaluate the brussels political scene??
There are highly qualified experts working there, who also report to you what we find out on the ground at home. When national politicians go to brussels, they also work constructively there. But the same politicians say the next day in their home country: the ones in brussels are all stupid. When it’s not in the public eye, they work well with the european commission, but when it’s in the public eye, they point the finger at brussel.
Europe and france – do they even fit together??
We franks have always thought european. Since karl the rough we have co-praised europe. The holy roman empire of the german nation was also roughly europe. Linguistically, the luxembourgers are also closer to us than the upper bavarians, for example. In other words, we franks have always been european.
The interview was conducted by ronald heck
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