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European Election 2019

The European Election is right around the corner! Time for a Sustainable Europe for its citizens!

On 23-26 May 2019, Europe will go to the polling booths to elect the new members of the European Parliament (EP) for the 2019-2024 period. Afterwards, and pending the support of the European Council, the lead candidate (‘Spitzenkandidat’) of the winning political group will be expected to become the new President of the European Commission.

Undoubtedly, the political priorities of the new European Commission and the Parliament, as well as their ability to act efficiently on the European challenges, will largely determine if Europe can make a shift towards sustainability. This does not only mean defending the natural values of Europe via Natura 2000 and green infrastructure — facing an ever-growing pressure from investors and lobby groups — or stepping up actions to fight climate change backed by nature-based solutions. It also means coming to integrate environmental, social and economic aspects in a holistic approach, such as making the EU financing scheme sustainable, as CEEweb and its partners have been calling for.

Moreover, it is also about strengthening European democracy, within which citizens and NGOs come to regarded as partners in important national decisions and are enabled to make meaningful contributions for the common goals in nature conservation and other fields.

However, due to the changing political climate and the growing populistic and autocratic tendencies Europe is currently facing, these aspirations might be in danger. Thus, the stakes for the European Parliament election will be higher in 2019 than ever before. European NGOs need to make a stand, not only for the environmental goals they work for, but also for the future of European democracy, its principles and effective cooperation within the common European project.

What can you do?

  • Integrate the topic of the upcoming EP election into the public debate in your country. Voters need to have higher awareness about what is at stake and what they can vote for. As voter turnout data from the previous EP elections show, people are especially unaware about the EP elections in new member states — with figures as low as 13.05% for voter turnout in Slovakia. Awareness can be raised by sharing regular information in social media, initiating discussions at events or include relevant messages in media communication. Share the European NGO manifesto (or your own policy demands) on your website and social media to make it clear what you would expect from them for a sustainable European future.
  • Approach national EP candidates with the European NGO manifesto (or your own priorities) and commit them to pick up on these topics in their campaign and future work if they are elected.
  • Ask people what they expect from the future European decision makers and make their voices be heard! You can also check out what they have to say about the future EU budget.
  • Join the thistimeiamvoting.eu communication action, promoted by the European Parliament, in which you can find information — and even volunteer — to support and organise national level events and initiatives.