Fiona Godfrey, 53
Occupation: Secretary-General of a pan-European public health NGO
Nationality: Luxembourgish and British
Languages spoken: English and Luxembourgish
“My very first political memory is connected to the EU. I was watching BBC news. The “EEC” was mentioned and I asked my mother what the “EEC” was. She told me it was a peace project to stop war breaking out in Europe again and something that would make it possible for me to go and live, study and work abroad when I was older. This 9 year old was sold – the EEC was the project for me.
I am a perfect marriage of the EU and its member states. I come from a working class family in a poor northern English city. The UK gave me a good state education at school and university level. The EU – through free movement - gave me my German/Chilean husband and family, a fascinating career in EU public health and social mobility. I am living proof of the fact that the EU project can work when member states and the EU share competences and come together to develop policies that benefit not just the economy but individuals.
Unfortunately, due to austerity, Brexit and the rise of populism future success stories like me are threatened. The EU as a peace project doesn’t have the same resonance as it did for me as a 9 year old. And 25 year olds on endless internships, zero hour work contracts or no job contract at all don’t see or benefit from the opportunities that were available to me.
As the Chair of British Immigrants Living in Luxembourg and the Co-Chair of British in Europe I have spent three years campaigning against Brexit and for EU citizenship rights. I have learned the hard way that we need to reformulate a positive story of what the EU is and what it can be. But I also realise that politicians at the highest levels of the EU don’t understand what makes individuals tick, what makes them want to embrace the EU project and what we need to do if the EU is to survive. I think I can help do this and I want to do it, hand in hand with Volt, which is a new and much needed fresh voice in EU politics. I am therefore delighted to be standing as a candidate for Volt in the European Parliament elections.”