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The European Union matters: that’s why I’m standing



Photographs: FB

Text: Thorbern Alexander Klingert


The initial form of the European Union (EU) was shaped from the ashes of World War II. The initial six countries – France, Germany, Italy, and the Benelux – pooled coal and steel together (essential ingredients for war), thereby taking determined steps to avoid a future conflict. Fast forward 70 years later, and Europe finds itself having managed crisis after crisis including armed conflict in the continent. The euro crisis made me invested in the EU, Brexit made me protective of the European project and Russia’s war in Ukraine made me realise that Europe needs to be more than a trading bloc.


I was born in Switzerland to a Danish father and a Filipino mother whose travel lust and vocation, respectively, led me to live in six countries. Their interest in the world influenced my passion for the environment, vision of a globalised world, and the benefits of trade—all of which the EU embraces. I can thank them, my background, and my experiences of living abroad and travelling abundantly for why I’m a third-culture kid.


My adolescent years were spent in Greece at the height of the euro crisis. Perhaps more than any other country, Greece felt the squeeze of the financial crash. Seeing the closure of shops, economic misfortunes of everyday people and the hopelessness that developed amongst the youth in Greece hit home hard – not only did I first hand see this occurring in Greece, it also all too much reminded me of the hardships I’m acutely aware also prevail in my other home nation of the Philippines. From the lenses of my experiences in Greece and understanding the euro crisis as a European challenge, my personal investment in the EU as a bloc committed to helping ensure better conditions going forward was solidified.

Following Greece, I lived in London. I finished university as well as started my career there. My time in London is one I think fondly back on. It’s the place that took me from being an adolescent to becoming a young adult with all the experiences that entails. But since the outset, I had always been bothered by the ambiguous relationship that the country had with the EU. Being an avid supporter of the EU, I was intensely following the run-up towards the country’s referendum on continued membership, wherein the media tended to bash the EU for all misfortunes while Brexit supporters referred to the EU as “EUSSR” (a reference to the Soviet Union suggesting that the EU was a regime of authoritarian nature). Then came the day of the referendum when, despite the ugliness of the campaign, I couldn’t imagine the country would leave. I hoped it wouldn’t. The next day, a majority had voted in favour of Brexit. I was heartbroken. I spoke to my sister, who was also living in London at the time, who encouraged me to really start thinking about getting politically involved. I believe this was the moment wherein my political involvement towards protecting the EU cemented itself.


"I was born in Switzerland to a Danish father and a Filipino mother whose travel lust and vocation, respectively, led me to live in six countries. Their interest in the world influenced my passion for the environment, vision of a globalised world, and the benefits of trade—all of which the EU embraces."


I now live in Denmark, where I’m campaigning for a seat in the European Parliament (EP). I lived here, too, in February 2022, when COVID-19 (another crisis) was still ongoing and watched Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Another unbelievable event had materialised – war in Europe – which was the very thing that the EU was formed to prevent. European security and defence are in a very poor state. Security will be the main theme of this election. I want an EU that is prosperous, free and at peace. I believe that can happen if the EU goes beyond being a trading bloc into one wherein security is at the top of the agenda.


My passions for certain topics alongside world realities have led to four essential areas that I believe are the most vital in this election and what I’m campaigning for:

  • Strengthening the EU’s security cooperation

  • Ensuring our planet’s climate is prioritised

  • Investing in our youth

  • Encouraging trade to advance development and prosperity


As an internationalist, my passion lies in the EU. I genuinely believe it’s an overall force for good. But with the challenges ahead, the EU is in a precarious situation. The EU, therefore, needs to be more than a force for good; it needs to more than ever embrace what it was initially founded for as a force for peace. The EU matters in ensuring that – that’s why I’m running for the EP Election to advance that ideal.

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