Anja Haga campaigns for a seat in the EP: Green with religious freedom


European Union

Evert van Vlastuin, CNE.news

Anja Haga in the European Parliament. Photo CNE.news, Evert van Vlastuin

Anja Haga goes for green. That does not only mean that she is climate-friendly. But she is also open to far-reaching European military co-operation. However, religious freedom stands at the top of her list.

“Take the Nature Restoration Act. There was much controversy around this, even among Christian Democrats, but finally, it received support in the EP, thanks to support from the EPP, the political group Anja belongs to. “We had a lively debate about this within the EPP, and every vote counts, so I can say that I had a role in that, too.” The Dutch Christian Member of the European Parliament lives plastic-free. Even during a busy plenary week in Strasbourg, she sustains that. From her handbag, she fishes a few bundles of prepared sandwiches. Although she is quite new in the EP, she already knows the shops in Brussels and Strasbourg that sell without plastic packaging.

Haga (born on Christmas 1976) became an MEP in September 2023. But even after eight months, she is happy with what she has achieved in the large Parliament so far. She wrote a shadow report about corporate social responsibility and is glad she helped the resolution gain a majority. And there is more.

In the European Parliament, Haga represents the ChristenUnie. This small Christian party was part of some coalition governments in the Netherlands in the recent past. More than the Reformed SGP party, the ChristenUnie tends to be open to environment-friendly policies. And mainly Haga is motivated for that.

Her main topic is religious freedom, she says. With that, she continues the policy the ChristenUnie always had in the EP. “For this reason, we are part of the Human Rights Committee in the Parliament.”


Behind the screens, she has done everything to prevent that abortion was recommended as a constitutional right by the European Parliament. But that did not help; the EP embraced a resolution with that message in early April. “Unfortunately, there is a progressive majority.”

You sometimes also vote for women’s rights resolutions, which mention sexual and reproductive health. Usually, this means room for abortion.
“If abortion is mentioned, I vote against it. Abortion is no EU topic. We constantly check those proposals thoroughly.

But sexual and reproductive health is something else. I support access to gynaecological care, for instance. Some interpret that so that it includes abortion. But I think that is wrong.”

Back home, in Fryslan, north in the Netherlands, she frequently hears that Europe is holding us back. “I think that is not true.”

Anja Haga at her own party's congress. Photo ANP, Rob Engelaar

She was born in Fryslan and has always lived there. During this plenary week in Strasbourg, she also speaks in the regional language Frisian to Omrop Fryslân, the provincial broadcaster. For many years, she was a representative in the provincial council. “I think my face is best known there — more than in the rest of the country. I still have to work on this.”

Her background in Fryslan also influences her work as an MEP. “I tabled questions to the European Commission about gas extraction from the Wadden Sea, 8 kilometres from my home. The Wadden Sea is a natural reserve. The Dutch government always searches for legal loopholes to continue gas extraction. That should not be done so.”


She has three priorities: Freedom (including for religions), sustainability and security. “Religious freedom is the main issue for me.”

In the European society, she sees a growing intolerance against believers. “Especially among progressive liberals in the European Parliament, there is a religious allergy. When a number of Christians were murdered in Nigeria, the word Christian could not be mentioned in the resolution. I found that bizarre.”

Another topic was a resolution which called to stop Christian education in member states. “That is an attempt to discredit Christianity actively. Therefore, it is important that there are Christians in the EP.”

How do you work as a Christian in politics?
“I believe that God leads my life. He has put me in a place where He thinks I can be of value. I pray for strength and wisdom that I might do the right thing. In the end, He will care for me. We are instruments in His hands. It is not for us to know the results.”


In earlier elections for the European Parliament, the ChristenUnie had a combined list with the Reformed SGP. The mottos of those campaigns were usually: Yes to European co-operation; No to an EU superstate.

This year, ChristenUnie and SGP released independent lists. Haga: “In 2019, the Dutch extreme populists from Forum voor Democratie joined the ECR group. For us, that was the moment to move from the Conservatives to the Christian Democrats in the EPP. The SGP has remained in the ECR since. That’s why we have split.”

The ChristenUnie is campaigning with the motto “EU where necessary, but no EU when superfluous”. “We feel obliged to stress the advantages of the European integration.”

You have green ideals. What future do you see for farmers?
“I am convinced that most farmers love nature too and try to be as sustainable as possible. Of course, there should be a way for them to make a living out of this. The government must have a straight policy that remains the same over the years.

I prefer locally produced food. That is a new way of thinking. The Netherlands don’t have to export food as the second largest exporter in the world ; we don’t have to import so much food either, since we produce enough. We should do more to export our knowledge. However, it will take time before this new model is implemented. We don’t have to eat strawberries in January. Therefore, I am here. We have to start in Europe.”

The Dutch Sicco Mansholt invented the European agricultural policy after the Second World War. He tried to prevent a second Hunger Winter.
“That is true. But later, he said this policy had gone wrong because we were exhausting the land. He would not do it again.

God has made us stewards on this earth. If we continue like this, there will be more natural disasters, which threatens our food security.”

If food must be produced nationally, how will you prevent that there will be local shortages?
“You have to make sure the local circuit is closed. I know this is a completely different system, but our country has more than enough food. Obesity is a bigger threat than hunger.”

Security is one of your priorities. What is your plan there?
“If Putin wins in Ukraine, we shouldn’t think he will stop there. We have to support Ukraine in fighting against Russia. That brings a signal to Moscow. He will only stop if we are strong.

For this reason, I support EU defence co-operation. At the moment, our country has different bullets than France. We need co-operation and alignment to be more competent. I don’t believe a European military reaction force will harm NATO. It will only make NATO stronger.”

What are your chances for re-election?
“We are the only Christian party with full focus on climate, freedom, and a strong Europe. No other party in Europe has applied this Biblical vision to such a broad range of policy areas. I trust that this will raise support.”



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.