In May, the 27 Member States of the European Union will go to the polls to vote for the members of the 9th European Parliament. JCI is running the Step Up For Europe campaign to encourage its members and all citizens to vote in these crucial elections.
The institutions of Brussels and Strasbourg can seem overly complicated and distant to many citizens of Europe but the EU actually functions in the same way as most nation states. Where Ireland has the Cabinet, led by the Taoiseach, the European Union has the European Council, led by a President. The European Commission is equivalent to the Irish Civil Service and the European Parliament is equivalent to the Dáil. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are much the same as TDs: they are directly elected by you, they are responsible for passing legislation and they approve the European Union’s budget. The EU principle of devolution means that laws must be made at the most appropriate level. MEPs have no say on local or national law making and only work on areas that require agreement across all Member States, such as trade or the regulation of medicines.
Examples of recent projects that Irish MEPs have been involved in includes banning single-use plastic; requiring gender equality actions to be included in trade agreements and establishing the InvestEU fund, which will invest in small business across the EU. These are all hugely important issues and you can have your say on them by voting in the elections and engaging with your MEP.
Step Up For Europe is a campaign to encourage people to vote. It is apolitical and will not encourage anyone to vote for any particular party, person or policy. It is simply aimed at creating engagement and participation with the democratic process and promoting active citizenship.
Until the elections, which are happening between the 23rd to the 26th May (24th May in Ireland) JCI chapters across Europe will be running events such as information evenings, debates and leaflet drops to raise awareness of the upcoming elections and how important your vote is. We will be sharing videos, images and stories on social media and offering advice on how to register to vote.
It’s your Europe, it’s your vote, it’s your time to step up: www.stepupforeurope.eu
Written by Ben Hall, Director of Business for JCI Dublin 2019