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Nadja Hirsch MEP

German MEP Nadja Hirsch answers your questions...

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How and when did you become an MEP, and what are your responsibilities?

My name is Nadja Hirsch and I became a member of the European Parliament in 2009. I am a member of the German FDP and within the Parliament a member of the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Europe). In the European Parliament I am a member on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and in the Delegation to the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee. Further I am a substitute member on the Culture and Education Committee and on the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. I am also a substitute member in the Delegation for the Arab Peninsula and the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia. Among my other duties I am passionately involved in the subject of animal welfare.

Comenius and My Europe are projects which have been running over the past two years between Poland, Slovenia, Germany and the UK. We have visited each country and experienced life through different perspectives. What do you think about projects like these?

Comenius and My Europe are great projects because they help to establish a European identity. Cultural exchange has many positive effects. I work within the Culture and Education Committee which is engaged in these kinds of issues. I think it is very important for personal and educational reasons that young people from different European countries get together to experience the diversity of Europe. I would recommend to everyone to participate in projects like Erasmus, Comenius or My Europe.

Do you think more opportunities should be provided in our school and local areas to carry on these experiences? How could these opportunities be provided?

I definitely agree that there should be more European Projects in schools and local areas. There is a strong need to build up and to advance more opportunities for young Europeans. These exchanges provide a great flexibility, respect and mutual tolerance between different nationalities and further create better chances in a future European labour market. A start here is for example the commission's initiative "Youth on the Move".

Has your opinion of Europe and your identity as a European changed since becoming an MEP?

I would not say that my opinion or my identity has changed since becoming a Member of the Parliament. I was always convinced about the importance of a united Europe and I really like my job. I would rather say that my European identity is deeper now and I think it is really necessary to build up and create a common European identity among all Europeans.

What is your favourite EU country, apart from your own, and why?

First of all I have to say that I love all European countries. This question is a really tough one but I have to say that my favourite country is Croatia which soon will be a full member of the European Community. I chose Croatia because I spent a lot of time during my childhood there and I really enjoy the Croatian mentality.

Questions from the German students:

We want to protect the nature of our country and are not happy about the building work in our countryside. Also, the streets some areas of Bremen are really dirty and
more cleaners and rubbish bins are needed.

Can you and/or the EU do anything to solve these problems?

First of all it is very important that you care about the nature of your country. In general the city or communes are responsible for the issue of construction work as well as for a proper waste disposal system. In this case it is also more logical that the EU is not involved in the problem of a city waste disposal because such problems can be better and more efficient solved on a local basis. The challenge of the EU is to find general regulations and conditions to support the protection of European nature. Concerning your problems I would say it is best to directly contact the city of Bremen and maybe even Members of the German Bundestag who come from your area. I also have to say that in the case of waste disposal one also has to take into account the individual responsibility. The first steps for changes are active citizens and I am very happy that you are actively engaged to make a progress for your city.
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