Portrait of Sandro Gozi, new EDP Secretary General
Can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Sandro Gozi, and I am an MEP in the Renew Europe group. Trained as a diplomat, I worked as a European civil servant, then as an Italian MP and as the Secretary of State for European Affairs under the Renzi and Gentiloni governments in Italy. I focused on working towards the European project from my own country until 2018 when I joined En Marche, Emmanuel Macron's party, in order to build a Europe that works and inspires.
I was elected as an MEP from the French Renaissance list in May 2019. During the summer, I was advisor to the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and I took up my post in the European Parliament following Brexit in February 2020. Since then, I have worked in the Internal Market, Constitutional Affairs, and Regional Development Committees, for the EU-India Parliamentary Cooperation Delegation, and as part of the Special Committee on Foreign Interference and Disinformation.
You have been involved in European issues for a long time. Can you tell us about your background and why you have chosen to pursue a career in the European Democratic Party?
I was born in 1968, eleven years after the ratification of the Treaty of Rome. My life as a European began in Sogliano al Rubicone, and I went on to study law in Bologna, International Relations at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and Macroeconomics at the London School of Economics. By studying in these European countries, I have thus forged a strong European identity. My interest in European politics led me to join the cabinet of Romano Prodi, then President of the European Commission, in 1999.
Five years later, I was elected Member of the Italian Parliament and then appointed Advisor on European Affairs to the President of the Italian Council of Ministers, where I was responsible for organising the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. I worked energetically with my European colleagues to relaunch European integration - as a Member of Parliament for 12 years and as Secretary of State for European Affairs from 2014 to 2018 in Matteo Renzi's government.
I then decided to return to France and join Emmanuel Macron's European reform project. As an MEP since February 2020, my ambition is to strengthen transnational politics and European political parties. Indeed, we cannot move Europe forward without parties like the European Democratic Party at the centre of the public space. This leads me to the EDP: creating a transnational Europe, reviving the economy after Covid-19, mobilising citizens during the Conference on the Future of Europe and advancing European integration, is at the heart of my commitment! Our party must become a strong voice on all these issues, especially in view of the French Presidency of the European Council in 2022 and the European elections in 2024.
You are the new Secretary General of the EDL. How do you see this mandate?
For me, the EDP must focus on three areas in the coming years. The first is to spread the word about it in Brussels and among political parties throughout Europe. If we want to be listened to at a European level and have a real weight in the European political space, we must be able to put forward our ideas, positions, and political messages.
Secondly, we have a key role to play in the Conference on the Future of Europe. This exercise in direct democratic participation and dialogue with citizens across the European Union is unprecedented in the history of the European project. We must live up to this ambition, the success of the Conference depends on it. The EDP must be engaged, encourage citizens and supporters to participate and be a real engine of ideas for reforming Europe.
And finally, we need to start preparing the campaign for the European elections in 2024. In order to carry out our project of re-founding Europe to make it more democratic, digital, fair, sustainable and competitive, we must already prepare our programme to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis stronger than ever. Let's stop running 27 national campaigns for the European elections. Instead, we must prepare a truly European campaign, with transnational lists, in a new single European constituency. Our proposals must speak to all citizens of Europe, whether they live in Porto, Helsinki, Sofia, Strasbourg, or Milan; in the countryside or in the cities. The EDP campaign must reflect the project for the future that we are striving towards: pan-European, dynamic, multilingual and full of solutions to strengthen the European project.