Mick Wallace, the Left group in the European Parliament. Photo: Mike Wallace personal Twitter account
Europe should learn from China about how to serve the interests of people better, said Mick Wallace (Wallace), an incumbent member of the European Parliament from the south constituency of Ireland. Wallace emphasized that the quality of government should not be measured by the size of GDP, but by how well it looks after those who need help most. Wallace also spoke highly of China's remarkable achievements to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. As the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is approaching, Wallace shared his views on issues including the CPC's role in China's development, differences between Western political parties and the CPC, and what Europe can learn from China, in an interview with Global Times (GT) reporter Yu Jincui.
GT: China's rise and development have upset many Western countries. But you have said that the EU should learn something from China's development. Why do you think so? What aspects do you think the West can learn from China?
Wallace: The reason that we can learn something from China is because Europe is not doing a great job serving the interest of its people. I think facing great challenges, the Chinese have done remarkably well, given the size of the population. The system of the government is serving the people better whereas the system of governments in Europe is serving its business first.
The biggest challenge for the European Union in the future is that it has to have a better relationship with the citizens of Europe. Right now, because the EU is a neoliberal club, it puts the interest of big business before those of the ordinary people. That's a huge challenge for the EU because Europe has to change. It has to prioritize the interests of the ordinary citizens of Europe, instead of advertising the interest of big business. Because if it doesn't, then it is going to lose the support of the people of Europe. So that's the big challenge for Europe. I think we can learn lessons from China who are doing a better job in looking after the concerns of the ordinary citizens than the Europeans are doing at the moment.
When the people need help, the government of any country should be there for the people. They should prioritize the interest of the people. And that's the approach that we should have. For me, you don't measure the quality of a government by the size of GDP, you measure it by how well it looks after those who most need help.
GT: How do you evaluate the role that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has played in China's development over the past few decades? Why can the CPC lead China to move forward and achieve rapid development?
Wallace: I believe in a system of government where the government works for everybody and not just for the few. And the CPC has obviously played a strong role in helping so many hundreds of millions in China to move out of poverty. That's been a remarkable achievement. It couldn't have been done under the capitalist system. China could not have made the same progress with a capitalist system. So the CPC deserves a lot of credits for the progress that China has made.
GT: In your opinion, what are the major differences between the CPC and Western political parties?
Wallace: The majority of parties in Europe favor the capitalist system and the capitalist system doesn't look after the interests of all the people. It's exactly the interest of some people, but not all of them. Whereas a proper communist system looks after the concerns of all, I'm sure the Communist Party system in China is not perfect either. And I know that you have a lot of people with crazy amounts of money as well. But at the same time, I do think the fact that you have moved so many people out of poverty over the last number of years just shows that you're doing something right.
GT: Some pundits predict the collapse of the CPC, while others hype up purported threats the CPC poses to the West. How do you view these voices? Where do those misunderstandings come from?
Wallace: Communist parties have failed to survive in most countries of the world. Would that be pressure on the change? The people who have the most money in China might like things to be done different. That is a challenge to any communist system if people with a lot of money in any country become very powerful, they would challenge that communist way of thinking. So that's a danger that China has to be careful of. I think it's important that China doesn't embrace neoliberalism.
GT: The US and some other Western countries attacked the CPC and have even sanctioned some Party members. But such acts have increased Chinese society's support for the CPC. Why have the Western attacks failed to alienate Chinese people from the CPC?
Wallace: You shouldn't worry so much about the criticism from the [Western] people. They criticized China because they don't want China to be doing so successful. They will criticize you anywhere if you do something well. You shouldn't worry about them.
GT: How does China's development over the past few decades contribute to the world?
Wallace: China is investing in a lot of countries at the moment, like in Africa and Latin America, and it's not using guns. They don't use guns and bombs like the Americans do. But still, I think it's important that if China is going to invest in countries, it should always be in the interest of the citizens of that country and not just in the interest of China. The world powers will always go to other countries to make investment, to access minerals and whatever. It's important that China doesn't copy the ways of the West who have exploited many countries for several hundred years. And it's important that China doesn't become like them and exploit these countries as well. You can operate in these countries, you can do business with these countries. It's important that China does it in a fair manner.