Interview with Petr Mach – Member of European Parliament and Vice-Chair of ‘Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy’ (EFDD) Political Group
EUBULLETIN’s correspondent in Brussels Tomas Miklica has recently spoken with Petr Mach, MEP and Vice-Chair of ‘Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy’ (EFDD) Group about possible electoral success of Nigel Farage and the UKIP in the United Kingdom and what implications this would have for voters in the Czech Republic and other EU Member States. Mr Mach was earlier an external economic advisor to the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, with whom he shares enthusiasm for euroscepticism and the free market economy.
EUBULLETIN: Your party’s main goal is the Czech Republic’s withdrawal from the European Union. Do you believe it is actually possible for an EU country to transform itself back into the state it was before becoming an EU member?
Petr Mach: I think that we can never go back to something. The world changes, everything has changed. But what remains the same is the fact that only free market enables people to produce what they think is the best for them. We cannot immediately rebuild sugar factories for example. We cannot miracuously change things back.
EUBULLETIN: So it would take some time to restore the independence?
Petr Mach: We do not know what independence brings. Maybe other industries will arise, different from those functioning before we joined the EU. The world is different now, there are new industries. What we need is to open the market and enable people to find the best options for them.
EUBULLETIN: Would you then say that it is the economic reasons that could serve as the main argument for the Czech Republic to leave the European Union?
Petr Mach: The main reasons are, of course, economy, on the one hand, but it is also democracy and freedom, on the other hand. It makes no difference what is a country’s position on a policy if it is the EU that makes the decisions. We need to regain independence to regain democracy.
EUBULLETIN: Is the general election that will be held in the United Kingdom in May important for your party’s and EFDD’s future?
Petr Mach: If Nigel Farage succeeds in becoming the member of the House of Commons, then he will have more chances to speak to his voters and his ideas will be heard more loudly. And any success of political parties which are in favour of national democracy, individual freedom and free market is encouraging. Success of UKIP in Britain would show voters in the Czech Republic and other countries that they are allowed to vote for another political party.
EUBULLETIN: But the United Kingdom leaving the European Union would also mean the UKIP leaving the EFDD and making it no longer viable.
Petr Mach: This disadvantage would be negligible in comparison to showing that independence is possible.