Don’t believe what you read in the newspapers or see on TV – the elections for the European Parliament really are important.
They aren’t just an opportunity to vote against the governing parties in your country – or to vote against European Union (EU) policies on austerity – or even against the EU itself.
The European Parliament has real power, as one of the two pillars of decision making on EU laws (the other being elected governments). Yes, the European Commission proposes laws, but it is the parliament and EU governments who decide what happens.
Do EU laws matter? Can the parliament make a difference? Yes in both cases.
- If you care about climate change (and everyone should), EU laws are vital for ensuring that we invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. They are also helping make our products more energy efficient, saving money, emissions and generating innovation around the world.
- If you care about waste, it’s the European Parliament that pushed through a 50% recycling target – and the next parliament is likely to be voting on higher recycling targets, with a proposal due from the Commission later this year
- If you care about nature, it’s EU laws that protect many of our best nature reserves – while EU laws also control what pesticides can be used & EU funding pays farmers for good & bad practice (unfortunately)
Convinced? Make sure you vote on 22nd – 25th May (depending on your country).
But it’s not just about you – how about telling your friends and family why the EU Parliament elections are important – and why they should vote!
If you want (a little bit) more info, here’s a two page briefing I wrote for Friends of the Earth.
Who should you vote for?