Future of Europe in everyone's hands

A film encourages people to vote, amid predictions the next EP will be completely different

Ivailo Tsvetkov

The future shape of Europe is now in the hands of those who will go to vote in the European elections on 23-26 May. To encourage people to take part in this key event, the European Parliament launched on 25 April in all Member States a film titled Choose Your Future.

The three-minute film is a nudge to take part in the upcoming European elections and to think about the future generations that will ultimately have to live with the consequences of this vote, the EP press service noted. Directed by award-winning Frederic Planchon, the film documents the intense, beautiful and fragile moments when newborn children come into this world. In the words of the young girl narrating the film: “Each of us can leave a mark, but together we can make a real difference. Choose the Europe you want me to grow up in.” Different versions of the film for TV, cinema and radio will also be distributed.

Choose Your Future is the centrepiece of the 2019 European elections awareness-raising campaign. The aim of the film is to make European citizens reflect on why they vote. The more people vote, the stronger and more legitimate a democracy becomes. The goal is to make Europeans aware of shared values, emotions and responsibilities. To deal with global challenges, Europeans need to stand together and choose their - and their children's and grand-children's - future, by casting their vote in the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, last week the influential think-thank European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) predicted that the European Parliament will be significantly different after this election. The “grand coalition” of the EPP and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats will no longer have a majority of MEPs. Thus, these political families will need to work with other groups in the next EP to drive the European project forward. ECFR suggests that, with or without UK participation, there is a strong possibility that anti-European parties could form the second-largest coalition in the EP after the May 2019 election, with up to 35% of seats. This puts a premium on cooperation between pro-European forces beyond the confines of traditional political groups. The centre group of ALDE and La Republique En Marche! will potentially have a lot of power as kingmakers. Still ECFR noted that anti-European parties constitute a multifarious group, coming from the far right and the far left with policies and priorities that are most often grounded in their national politics, so their ability to work together as a group is far from proven.

The authors make conclusions that in the campaign phase it is important for all pro-European parties to think about issues that mobilise pro-Europeans across party boundaries. Messages that resonate beyond parties' bases will be important in building a platform on which to work together after the election. ECFR's research with YouGov indicates that climate issues could form part of this platform: in the 14 countries in which researchers asked whether climate change should be tackled as a priority even at the risk of curbing economic growth, only a minority of people responded in the negative. In the surveys, respondents cited cooperation on climate change as one of the biggest losses that would result from an EU's collapse. And voters concerned about green issues do not only vote for Green parties, those who worry about having access to clean air include significant numbers of CDU/CSU supporters in Germany and Law and Justice party voters in Poland.

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