15:00. “The European project was an adventure I really needed at the time. I was happy in Lyon, I had a boyfriend, it was my first relationship, but when we broke up I did not recognize myself, I was heartbroken, I could not see my life in France anymore. I needed to go on a new adventure and start fresh; so I went to the Democratic Republic of Congo and that made me want to continue work on issues of development and human rights.
The break up was very difficult but at the same time, should it not have been for that, I would not have discovered what really motivated me in life – and it is what I do now.”
Renaud works at DEVCO, the European Commission’s DG for International Cooperation and Development. Before working at the European Commission, Renaud was at the European Parliament for almost 10 years.
“- It is unfortunate that there is a bad image of the European Union at the moment. Because the truth is that people simply do not see us, they do not know or understand what we do – and therefore they do not know who we are. They do not think that we are similar to them, that we are human(s).
– In fact, a lot of the work that the EU does is very human, a lot of legislation that we pass is very human. Perhaps the way we sell it to citizens is not the best way, or the message does not come across as we would want it to. But people often forget what the EU has done for its citizens at the human level.”
(About the lack of diversity within EU institutions)
“ – There is a lack of diversity in the European institutions, that’s a fact. I thought about it a lot. The European institutions are supposed to represent European citizens, so you would imagine that within the institutions you would have a mirror representation of the European citizens – which means a great diversity. But it is not necessarily the case, unfortunately. When I say diversity, I speak of different ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, nationalities, orientations, religions, genders.
– Of course the lack of diversity is present everywhere. It is present in the media, if you go to the cinema, if you watch television. It is also present in big companies all over the world. But the EU is supposed to represent its citizens. And EU citizens are diverse. So we need to work on this issue.”