Q: Why should I vote?
- Only 16% of Europeans are aware that European elections will be held in 2009
- Over 50% of Europeans are ‘very disinterested’ or ‘somewhat disinterested’ about the European elections.
- Only 30% definitely intends to vote (note that voting is mandatory for Belgium and Luxembourg)
- 14% definitely intends not to vote, of which:
- 68% believes that they will not change anything with their vote
- 60% recognizes that they don’t sufficiently know the role of the European Parliament
- 59% do not have any interest in European elections
- 58% consider themselves not sufficiently informed to vote
Source: Special Eurobarometer 299/ Wave 69.2: The 2009 European elections
A: Because it is YOUR Europe!
The work of the European Parliament is important because in many policy areas, decisions on new European laws are made jointly by Parliament and the Council of Ministers, which represents Member States. Laws that are passed in the European Parliament have a direct effect on the legislation of each Member State. The European Parliament is the only directly-elected body of the European Union. The 785 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) are there to represent you, the citizen.
Parliament plays an active role in drafting legislation which has an impact on the daily lives of its citizens: For example, on environmental protection, consumer rights, equal opportunities, transport, and the free movement of workers, capital, services and goods. Parliament also has joint power with the Council over the annual budget of the European Union.
If you want your interests to be represented at the European Parliament, voting for your candidate is the first and most important step.
Do more to make a change!
Aside from voting, there are many ways that you can become a more active European citizen and to impact how the European Union represents you:
- Get informed: visit the European Parliament website for more information on the role of the parliament, the President, the internal bodies of the parliament and the rules of procedure and working practices.
- Get familiar: Perhaps you would like to visit the Parliament in Brussels or Strasbourg and see it in action for yourself? This part of the website provides full details on visiting, as well as on recruitment and traineeships.
- Interact: The European Parliament website includes a section “The Parliament and You” which features useful links for citizens to interact with the Parliament. This includes the right to write to Parliament with a question, to express your views, to receive all public documents.
- Advocate: Find out who is your MEP and write to him/her on the issues that concern you. The European Parliament website also provides tools that allow you to formally petition Parliament - you will also find all the necessary information here.