Panayiotou may drop independence amid talks with Greens and Liberals

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New MEP and YouTube star Panayiotou may drop independence amid talks with Greens and Liberals


Fidias Panayiotou, a famous YouTuber from Cyprus who was elected as an independent MEP in the European Parliament on June 9, told Brussels Signal he was considering joining the Greens or Liberals in the EP.

The popular social media star said he felt that remaining a lone, non-aligned voice in the 700-plus-member parliament could lead to being grouped with “the crazy ones”, easily sidelined and shorn of any influence.

Currently, Panayiotou said, he had three options – the Renew group, the Greens or staying as is.

He claimed his political conviction could best be described as “nothing” and that he shied away from being depicted as Left or Right.

He confirmed he was not talking to right-wing groups.

Asked by Brussels Signal chief Justin Stares in a studio interview if he was part of a larger phenomenon of social influencers getting into politics, Panayiotou said social media had changed the political game.

Where traditional politicians communicated via their parties, television and others, social media gave people a direct way to interact with each other and voters could directly communicate with such online politicians, with more direct democracy, Panayiotou said.

“I think that’s more alive, that’s more what were are moving towards in the future”, he said, adding that it could lead to more independent candidates.

According to Panayiotou, traditional parties sometimes needlessly polarised society.

His own online following had during the election campaign urged him to be an independent candidate, Panayiotou said.

Still, there are significant advantages in being part of a political group in the European Parliament. They are allocated more speaking time during debates, more office space, staff and money, for instance.

Panayiotou said he was reconsidering his position. “In my country of Cyprus, you can go as an independent and there aren’t many disadvantages. But here in Brussels, I think it works a bit differently,” he acknowledged.

He became a member of parliament because, he said, he no longer wanted to see “the same nerds in power”, in Europe and Cyprus.

Panayiotou said he wanted to be a politician and handle difficult, technical issues but also “be alive, to be full of excitement, do stuff with passion”.

“I hope the other nerds don’t rub off their nerdiness one me,” he joked.

On a more serious note, Panayiotou added he wanted to learn and be useful in politics and said he was already having meetings with various other politicians.

The new MEP said a “miracle happened” regarding his election success. He said he thought a large portion of his voters had anti-establishment feelings but many also believed in him. This was helped, he said, by his style and honesty.

Social media also played a huge part, Panayiotou pointed out, describing his approach as using drones while his opponents fought with swords.

He said, with his new role, he wanted to inform people across Europe about the inner workings of the European Union.