EU election – So why vote?

European policy affects all levels, from European to local, and Eindhoven is a clear example of this. And Carl De Liedekerke Beaufort reasons why your vote matters:

The upcoming European elections on June 6th will

shape our approach to addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our time, including climate change, migration, and defence. Your vote is crucial and could decide between advancing or remaining stagnant in our efforts to tackle urgent issues like climate change and economic prosperity.

How do the European Parliament elections affect the direction of the EU?

As explained in my previous article, the Commission President (considered the president of the EU) is elected and can be dismissed by the European Parliament. By choosing who can hold the office, the Parliament holds a lot of influence in setting the priorities of the next Commission. Therefore, depending on which parties do well during the elections, the Commission may have varying focus points.

How the European elections will impact Eindhoven?

European policy affects all levels, from European to local, and Eindhoven is a clear example of this.  Businesses like ASML heavily rely on the freedom of movement within the EU to attract qualified workers and remain competitive globally. Despite this, companies in Eindhoven still struggle to find enough skilled workers. Without improvements, there’s a risk that these companies may seek investments elsewhere. The European Parliament and Commission have tried to enhance Europe’s appeal to a talented workforce. Still, some EU countries and parliamentary parties oppose these efforts, advocating for stricter regulations on foreign workers. The upcoming Commission will determine whether to prioritise global competitiveness or restrict opportunities. Therefore, the outcome of the European elections will significantly impact Eindhoven’s ability to maintain its global competitiveness.

The EU’s Impact on the Climate Transition

For example, in 2019, progressive parties performed better than expected, with the Greens and Renew gaining 61 seats. As a result, the current Commission, which acts as the executive government of the European Union, has made tackling climate change a top priority. Over the past five years, the EU has passed laws to meet its UN target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The EU has introduced the Green Deal, aiming to achieve net-zero emissions from the 27 member states by 2050. This involves significant investments in renewable energy production, energy-efficient buildings, and expanding the train network, among other measures. Additionally, the EU has implemented strict regulations to control emissions and introduced a carbon tax. Furthermore, substantial investments have been made in improving national and European train networks to reduce reliance on aeroplanes and cars.

Every seat in the Parliament counts. 

Yet, passing these laws was not always straightforward. For example, the Nature Restoration Law aimed to restore 30% of natural habitats by 2030, a crucial step in protecting European biodiversity. However, it barely passed with a narrow majority of 35 votes in a chamber of 705 members. This shows the importance of every vote in parliament, as it can determine whether the European Union moves forward with a more ambitious climate transition or takes steps backwards on its commitments.

What the future European Parliament and Commission mean for the European project…

The European Parliament and the Commission face critical decisions in addressing today’s challenges. In the upcoming term, there’s a significant opportunity to tackle these issues by ensuring a fair yet ambitious climate transition, addressing the shortcomings of the European Union, and striving for a more equitable society.

However, increasing political movements seek to decrease cooperation among European nations, instead favouring individual countries to tackle challenges independently. As a European citizen residing abroad, the prospect of diminished European collaboration is deeply concerning. The project that has granted EU citizens so many opportunities is now at risk. 

So why vote? 

As a voter, you can influence the future of Europe, ensuring that our elected representatives truly reflect our society. However, it’s important not to take our European rights for granted, as seen with Brexit. Many EU citizens living abroad often don’t participate in elections, leading to insufficient representation at the European level. Let’s work towards changing that in this election by registering yourself and your friends to vote. 

Be mindful that the registration deadline for EU citizens residing in the Netherlands is approaching before the 23rd of April. For Dutch citizens, there is no need to register; just make sure to vote on the 6th of June. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to stay informed about the voting process, including when and how to cast your vote. In the upcoming and final article, I will provide detailed guidance on voting for the European elections.

For Eindhoven News:

Guest writer- Carl De Liedekerke Beaufort, Campaign co-lead for Zuidoost Brabant, VOLT Europa.


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