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I read the results of Sunday’s European elections as the consequences of going against our common European mission and values.

Some of us have thrown away our democratic rights. The right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracies obtained at a very high price and after many struggles. And yet on Sunday we witnessed the second lowest turnout at European elections. Only 44% of voters showed up at voting stations compared to 62% in 1979 (the first European elections). When we choose silence over voting, we accept that others decide for us. For example 52% of French voters believe that being part of the EU is a good thing. But 57% did not vote and the political party that calls for an exit from the EU came first out of the ballot boxes.

Some of us went against European democratic values. Article 3 TEU reminds us that the Union “shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection (…)”. This was never a mere statement but a promise, made by our fathers to us, to avoid the dramatic mistakes made during World War II. Yet, some of us in Europe have voted for more far right MEPs compared to the previous parliament. We shall remain indignant and strongly vigilant about this situation which will never be acceptable. As ENAR says today “it should set alarm bells for our society”.

These elections also show that many of us believe our EU leaders have ignored the mission of the EU when implementing austerity policies. Article 9 of TFEU states “the Union shall take into account the requirements linked to promotion of high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion (…)”. Many voters condemned austerity policy. The Spanish indignados will get 5 seats in the new Parliament. In Greece, Syriza, which clearly campaigned against austerity, is the first political party. In Portugal, the current majority leading on the austerity measures has been outvoted by the opposition.

I said several times “us” in this article because whatever my own personal choices are, we will all have to bear the consequences of the lack of participation and of going against our values and mission. We are all responsible for the legacy we leave our children. So we must continue to act to address what happened on Sunday. For those who did not vote, I invite you to join the civil society movement to get your voice heard by the new European Parliament: this is what we call civil dialogue. To ensure that equality is strengthened, you can join associations that combat discrimination and promote equality.

Tomorrow, we will continue to promote a social shield in Europe that guarantees a dignified life for all so that the EU lives up to its mission and values.

Join us in our campaigns! Let’s engage!

Pierre Baussand – Director

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