The next European Parliament Elections are approaching quickly. During 22-25 May 2014 citizens of the 28 EU member states will get the chance to elect their representatives to the European Parliament during 2014-2019. The elections are an opportunity to influence those to be elected and get their commitment to helping to create lasting solutions to injustice and poverty. The elections are also a good time for mobilizing citizens to demand a Europe that deals with inequalities and poverty in Europe and outside its borders.
A lot is at stake during these elections and the new election outcomes could have serious consequence to European development policies. The political sentiments in Europe, which include strong anti-European as well as anti-immigration and populists movements, could result in election outcomes that greatly change the political landscape of the European politics. David Earnshaw, talking at the March CONCORD Policy Forum indicated that some fear that the next European Parliament will be made up of up to 30-40% of extremist, racist, populist or generally anti-establishment party groups like Italy’s Five Star Movement, UK Independence Party or the “Pirate Party”.
Many European as well as national political parties are already preparing and deciding on their election manifestos for the next European elections as well as selecting their candidates. The more active election campaign period is expected to start in January 2014. Now there is the opportunity for civil society organisations to make sure development cooperation issues are included and addressed adequately in the election manifestos. This is what many development NGOs and NDGO platforms are doing at the moment. On the European level, a European Parliament Elections Task Force has been established at CONCORD to jointly convey the European development NGOs’ messages to European politicians, citizens and the media.
For more information about the CONCORD European Parliament Election Task Force contact Sabine Terlecki: Sabine.Terlecki@concordeurope.org.
Information provided by Mirjam Sutrop, TRIALOG