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Towards the May elections. Duch (European Parliament): “Informing citizens for an informed vote”

The Director-General of Communication of the EU Assembly clarified the goals of the institutional campaign leading to the European vote of May 23-26. “Our task is to highlight the achievements of the European Union that involve everyday life.” The debate between “Europeanists” and “Sovereignists” garners increasing public attention as the elections draw near. An appeal to young people

The communication campaign launched by the European Parliament “is the answer to a task and an institutional duty: in fact it consists in making citizens aware of the importance of the May elections, of their democratic value, along with the political consequences they entail. Furthermore, the intent is to allow European citizens to learn about the achievements of the European Parliament and of the EU as a whole, adopted for the benefit of its citizens.” Interviewed by SIR, Jaume Duch, (born in Spain), spokesperson and Director General of Communication of the European Parliament illustrated the goals of the information campaign and the initiatives to persuade 400 million citizens of 27 Member Countries to vote in the European elections of May 23-26. The number of MEPs to be elected will be 705, and there are strong reasons to believe that the election campaign will be marked by fiery speeches. Europe is at a crossroads and citizens are called to chose between political projects that in some cases present contrasting political programs, with Europeanists – mindful of the need for EU reforms – on the one side and Eurosceptics on the other.

Unlike previous elections, this time it appears that European elections will be the focus of major public attention. Could this be the result of the controversies between nationalists and EU supporters?
I agree with the fact that the general public shows growing interest for the May vote. Several national leaders, some of whom with Government roles, are openly debating their respective visions of Europe. This could actually garner further public attention on the part of citizenry. But they should be aware that not all citizens are fully informed on the activities and functions of the European Union, its institutions and its achievements.

European-scale politics is rather complex, and the institutions headquartered in Brussels and Strasbourg are perceived as being “distant”

For this reason the intention is to spread information on the concrete results achieved so far as well as EU policies’ “closeness” to citizens, along with their direct bearing on people’s lives, on the life of families, enterprises and throughout European regions.
In particular, in this election campaign we wish to transmit the idea that the decisions of the European Parliament that we elect every five years with universal suffrage have a clear, direct, positive impact on the life of us all. Voting the candidates to be elected in the European Parliament enables every citizen to contribute to orient the future of the Union through the democratic process.

Whence emerges the value of participatory democracy…
Exactly. We are obviously not responsible for individual votes. Our task is to provide useful, balanced information for a pondered, conscious decision. Naturally the Parliament campaign will accompany the individual campaigns carried out by political players– parties, candidates in each Member Country. Equally important will be the role of news media – a much greater role compared to the past – and of social networks. Communication will be carried out on a wide range of informative platforms. This time there is a further concern related to misinformation and fake news – a problem that should not be underestimated.

The “Common European home” has taken on major relevance in social, political and economic life. What are the chances that political forces which oppose EU integration may prevail?
I don’t think that the historic political process is likely to be questioned. Indeed, we are confronted with different political visions, but those who want to end the Community experience are very few. Even the so-called nationalistic or populist parties have clearly stated that they want to change or reform the EU. They don’t want to leave the EU.
There are calls for a “different” Europe, and this is legitimate.  However, there are still four months to go before the elections, and in today’s politics that’s a very long time. Many new things could happen in the meantime.

But the sovereignist perspective is gaining grounds in present mental attitudes.

In my opinion, weakening the EU means weakening the possibility of seeking joint solutions to common problems that challenge all European Countries, ranging from economy to security, from the migratory issue to those linked to the environment and climate change. Some challenges can be met by acting in unison.

(For the full interview in Italian log on clicca qui)


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