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Statement about EP2014 problems in UK

Statement by

European Movement UK

Labour Movement for Europe (LME)

European Alternatives

LetmevoteUK

Vote, you’re at home!

Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG)

 

We are a group of initiatives and organisations who are working with EU citizens in different forms. All of us in some way work on projects of citizen engagement, voter participation and policy development. We try to empower and involve EU citizens, whether of British or other origin in issues around Europe and how Europe relates to local communities in the UK, some of us also in other countries.

 

Following the European Elections 2014 in the UK on 22 May 2014 we are concerned that there have been many reports of EU citizens in the UK not being able to vote in the elections.

 

Many who thought they had registered to vote, were turned away at polling stations being told they were not on the list for EP2014.

 

At the moment we are not clear what the source of the problem was, reports varied. There were more voter registration campaigns than ever targeting EU citizens, some of which we were directly involved in. Voters did need to get on the electoral register, then confirm individually in a 2nd form that they would vote in the European Elections in the UK rather than their home country.

 

It seems that many people who have lived here for years and voted previously, did miss or never receive the form from their Local Council to confirm they wanted to vote in the EP elections. Others report having got so many forms they submitted multiple times. Other received forms so often they did not return them as they thought they had registered already.

 

We assume a combination of factors led to electoral registration being too confusing for too many. This is out of line with our democratic principles. The UK has a good track record of enabling communities from different backgrounds to vote where they have the right to do so, and to not do this adequately for so many EU citizens who live and contribute to the UK society and economy at a time of general prejudice against these citizens seems at best unfortunate, and democratically not acceptable.

 

We are asking for the process to be looked into. Points of investigation are

 

  • if and when Councils explained the process adequately so EU citizens knew which steps to take

  • whether staff in polling stations had adequate information to know in which of the ballots EU citizens could vote, so they could resolve issues aside from just telling people if they were on the list or not

  • where there are reports which indicate prejudice against any EU citizens may have been expressed, specifically at polling stations in the form of unhelpful comments, this is also a point of concern

We call for the simplification of the process and suggest that we either return to the previous system or improve the form (which incorrectly stated that no further action is required) or adopting a different system that will deal adequately with the current problems.

 

2.5m EU citizens live in the UK and make up a significant part of our communities. Access to exercise their voting rights should be straight forward, and we hope our concern is noted, looked into and followed up with appropriate processes of investigation.

 

Petros Fassoulas, Chair European Movement UK www.euromove.org.uk

David Schoibl, Chair, Labour Movement for Europe (LME) www.labourmovement.eu

Noel Hatch, Co-Chair, European Alternatives www.euroalter.com

Susanne Kendler, UK Coordinator, LetmevoteUK www.letmevoteuk.org

Jakub Krupa, UK Coordinator, Vote, you’re at home! www.jusz.eu

George Dunk, Chair, Liberal Democrat Europe Group (LDEG) www.ldeg.org

 

The European Movement UK: The European Movement is a grassroots, cross-party, independent organisation, set up in 1950 and campaigning since then to inform the debate around the benefits of EU membership. In preparation for EP2014 the European Movement offered registration information through its registration campaign website http://vote2014uk.org.uk/

 

Labour Movement for Europe (LME) is a membership and campaigning organisation and Socialist Society affiliated to the Labour Party. Since 2008 it has been running voter registration campaigns among EU citizen communities in the UK and has many EU citizens among its membership and volunteers. The LME works to improve the quality of debate about Europe in the Labour Party and beyond.

 


European Alternatives (EA) is a transnational civil society organisation and citizens movement promoting democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation state. European Alternatives organises a wealth of activities, campaigns, and projects, including public events and the annual TRANSEUROPA Festival, research, activities promoting active citizenship, youth projects, campaigns and publications.

 

Letmevote UK is part of Letmevote EU, an independent citizens’ group promoting active citizenship in the EU. Letmevote promotes voter registration and participation of all EU citizens, including mobile EU citizens, who live and work in other EU countries than the one they come from. LetmevoteUK believes in a Europe of the people, of its citizens, and of active communities.

 

Vote, you’re at home! is a non-partisan joint initiative by School for Leaders, Polish City Club London, Forum Polonia Ireland and more than 30 associated organisations of Polish expats living in the United Kingdom, encouraging Poles living in this country to be active in local communities and political processes.

 

The Liberal Democrat Europe Group (LDEG) is the association for UK Liberal Democrat members and activists who are interested in European politics. As a group, LDEG provides a forum for the discussion of European political issues with a focus on the European Union and Britian’s role in the EU. The group also promotes a greater understanding of European political affairs.

The Green 10 Top Ten Demands of the EP

The Green 10 are ten of the largest environmental organisations and networks active on the European level. They coordinate joint responses and recommendations to EU decision makers. Membership of the Green 10 alone is more than 20 million people.

They work with the EU law-making institutions – the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers – to ensure that the environment is placed at the heart of policy-making. This includes working with their individual member organisations around Europe to facilitate their input into the EU decision-making process.

The Green 10 have published their top ten demands for the 2014 European Parliament election.

green10_demands_2014

These are the member organisations of Green10

BirdLife Europe | CEE Bankwatch Network | Climate Action Network Europe | European Environmental Bureau | Friends of the Earth Europe | Greenpeace European Unit | Health and Environment Alliance | Naturefriends International | Transport and Environment | WWF

 

 

 

Party of European Socialists (PES)

The Party of European Socialists (PES) brings together the Socialist, Social Democratic and Labour Parties of the European Union (EU). There are 32 full member partiesfrom the 28 EU member States and Norway. In addition, there are eleven associate and ten observer parties. The UK Labour Party is a member of the PES.

PES aims include:

  • the strengthening of the socialist and social democratic movement in the Union and throughout Europe;
  • contributing to forming a European awareness and to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union;
  • defining common policies for the European Union and to influence the decisions of the European institutions;
  • leading the European election campaign with a common strategy and visibility, a common Manifesto and a common candidate to the European Commission Presidency, elected through an open, transparent and democratic competitive process

The Group of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament has 194 members, and is the only political group in the European Parliament with representatives from all 28 member states.

PES website

Find the PES Manifesto for the EP2014 Elections here: http://bit.ly/1he54H1

Key 10 points are:

1.It is time to put jobs first
2. It is time to relaunch the economy
3.Putting the financial sector at the service of the citizens and the real economy
4.Towards a Social Europe
5.A Union of equality and women’s rights
6.A Union of diversity
7.A Safe and Healthy life for all
8.More democracy and participation
9.A Green Europe
10. Promoting Europe’s influence in the world

The PES is also running specific campaigns on these issues:

  • European You Guarantee
  • Equal Pay
  • Financial Transaction Tax (FTT)
  • Women and Pensions
  • My body, my rights
  • A Charter for European Women’s rights

 

 

European Youth Forum for EP2014

The European Youth Forum (YFJ) is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Representing 99 youth organisations, both National Youth Councils and International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations, we believe youth organisations are the tool through which we empower, encourage, involve, represent, reach out and support young people. The Youth Forum brings together tens of millions of young people from all over Europe, organised in order to represent their common interests. – See more at: http://www.youthforum.org/european-youth-form/#sthash.N4CdWkNy.dpuf

Ahead of the EP2014 Elections the European Youth Forum has launched its LoveYouthFuture Pledges, which show how the EU can love its young people, both now and in the future.

Click the image to get to the LoveYouthFuture Pledges and the campaign website, which holds a wealth of additional information

european youth forum_EP2014

European Women’s Lobby (EWL) for EP2014

Founded in 1990 with 12 national member organisations, the European Women’s Lobby is one of the oldest and best established European-level civil society NGOs. Over the last 20 years, EWL membership has grown steadily to reach more than 2500 organisations across 31 European countries.

The EWL’s mission is to promote real and effective equality between women and men, in all spheres of public and private life, across the EU. This mission is founded on a vision of a peaceful and democratic European Union built on a culture of respect for human rights, equality, peace and solidarity.

Achieving substantive equality between women and men, promoting women’s rights and empowering women should be a priority of the European Union (EU) and its Member States. the EWL sees gender equality as an essential part of democracy, social justice, human rights and dignity. The European Parliament (EP) has the power and responsibility to create meaningful change towards equality for all, now and in the future.

The EWL’s Manifesto “Act now for her future, commit to gender equality!” comprises the main demands of the European Women’s Lobby, the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the EU. The EWL Manifesto makes three general and five policy-specific demands:

  • A comprehensive framework to achieve gender equality
  • Sustainable funding for gender equality
  • Credible EU policies on gender equality at international level
  • Women’s economic independence
  • Parity democracy
  • A caring society
  • A Europe free from violence against women
  • Diverse in equality

Download and read the full manifesto by clicking on the image:

european womens lobby

Also check out their election website to find out all about EWL’s accompanying campaigns and which MEP candidates have signed up to the Manifesto so far: http://bit.ly/RmBhWe

 

European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) EP2014

EPHA is a change agent – Europe’s leading NGO advocating for better health. We are a dynamic member-led non-profit association registered in Belgium. EPHA is made up of public health NGOs, patient groups, health professionals, and disease groups working together to improve health and strengthen the voice of public health in Europe. EPHA is a member of, among others, the Social Platform, the European Public Health and Agriculture Consortium (EPHAC), the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), and the EU Civil Society Contact Group.

EPHA introduce their EP2014 election materials with this statement: ‘The last five years have been difficult for many people living in Europe. Unemployment, cuts to social support, lack of access to finance and the impacts of austerity have taken their toll on people, their health and their faith in the political processes and even democracy. In its Manifesto for the European Parliament elections, the European Public Health Alliance calls on political parties and individual Members of the European Parliament (MEP) candidates to ensure that health and well-being in Europe are ranked as high as they are valued.’

 

EPHA image

EPHA continues saying:

Quote: ‘The 2014-2019 legislative term presents the opportunity for the European Parliament to repeat its commitment to the well-being and health of people living in Europe by pushing these priorities up the political agenda. As we have seen, the European project has been under threat, but bringing the activities of the European Union in line with the priorities of its people is essential for both a democratically accountable Europe, as well as one that genuinely builds an economy which serves its people and the environment they live in.

We need strong leadership and a strong vision to reconnect European citizens to decision-making processes in the EU. Health, including mental health, is consistently identified among top areas of concern for European populations: to demonstrate the relevance of the EU to its citizens, Europe must deliver on the issues that matter to citizens, and not just to markets.’

This is EPHA’s EP2014 page: http://www.epha.org/a/5962

 

European Network Against Racism (ENAR) EP2014

ENAR is a pan-European anti-racist network that combines advocacy for racial equality and facilitating cooperation among civil society anti-racist actors in Europe. The organisation was set up in 1998 by grassroots activists on a mission to achieve legal changes at European level and make decisive progress towards racial equality in all EU Member States. Since then, ENAR has grown and achieved a great deal.

Parties and politicians using and propagating far-right and xenophobic ideas and programmes are getting stronger. Right-wing populist parties could make significant gains in the next EU elections, with some polls suggesting they could win up to 25% of seats in the next European Parliament.

In this context, we need to ensure that as many political parties and politicians as possible commit to equality and refrain from discriminatory and xenophobic discourses, behaviours and policies. Encouraging people to vote for diversity and equality and against discrimination and xenophobic discourses can also make a difference. Only by actually voting can our concerns be heard and our rights protected.

ENAR are asking candidates and political parties to commit to their top 7 demands to advance equality in the European Union

They also run the #NoHateEP2014 campaign. For this, they have joined forces with ILGA-Europe (European Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association). The purpose of the #NoHateEP2014 campaign is to denounce and monitor hate speech by candidates and encourage EU citizens to vote.

Find all about ENAR’s work ahead of EP2014 here: http://www.enar-eu.org/European-Parliament-Elections

 

European Disability Forum EP2014 Manifesto

The European Disability Forum is an independent NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities. EDF is the only European platform run by persons with disabilities and their families. EDF was created in 1996 by its member organisations to make sure decisions concerning disabled people are taken with and by disabled people.

Through its manifesto on the EU elections 2014, EDF calls on candidates MEPs and political parties to include the following priorities into their electoral programmes for the European elections 2014. Key points from the Manifesto are:

1. The promotion of a vision of an inclusive, sustainable and democratic Europe

EDF urges the EU to move away from the austerity policy and bring back people, inclusion, solidarity, equality and democratic legitimacy at the heart of its action. That is the only way to restore citizens’ trust.

2. The reform of Europe’s economic and social policies to ensure the protection and enjoyment of human rights of Europeans with disabilities

Due to unprecedented cuts in social spendings, millions of persons with disabilities are thrown into poverty and social exclusion. Social services are essential in enabling persons with disabilities to live independently and to participate fully in society, which are rights guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities – to which the EU is party, along with 25 Member States.

The EU must adopt new objectives concerning persons with disabilities in the upcoming review of the Europe 2020 Strategy – the only way to avoid its failure and mainstream disability rights in the European Semester process to esnure the protection and enjoyment of human rights for Europeans with disabilities.

3. Making goods and services accessible for all through:

the European Accessibility Act,a much-awaited EU legislation on the accessibility of goods and services in the EU internal market;
the proposed EU Directive on the accessibility of public websites;
accessibility of transport services and infrastructure;
– removing
obstacles to free movement for persons with disabilities and their families;
– making
EU funds barrier-free for persons with disabilities.

4. The adoption of the proposed general non-discrimination directive, a much-anticipated EU law

EDF urges the EU to adopt the proposed Directive, as amended by the European Parliament, which aims to protect persons with disabilities (amongst other groups) against discrimination in all areas of life outside of employment.

5. The swift ratification by the EU and by all Member states of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The EU and some Member States, despite being party to the UN Convention, are still expected to ratify the Optional Protocol, which introduces important procedures to strengthen the implementation of the Convention.

6. The establishment of mechanisms within EU institutions to mainstream the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities while ensuring the involvement of persons with disabilities

The EU has a pro-active duty to implement the Convention both in terms of its own internal work, but also in reviewing and modifying all existing laws and practices that discriminate against people with disabilities, and in shaping new legislation, policies and programmes in line with the Convention.

Please find the full Manifesto here:

EDF Manifesto 2014

Coface – Manifesto for Families in Europe

The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) is a pluralistic organisation, at the heart of civil society, which aims at promoting family policy, solidarity between generations and the interests of children within the European Union. With 58 member organisations across 22 Member States of the European Union, COFACE gives a voice to many millions of families at EU level.

COFACE is convinced that the European Parliament does have power in a large number of important areas that impact our everyday lives, and those of families living in Europe.

By clicking on this link you can find out more about the organisations’ positions for the European Elections 2014.

COFACE have also published their main Manifesto for the European Elections:

#FamiliesVOTE2014 publication “Helping you make your choice for the 2014 European Parliament Elections”.

Familiesvote front_sm

This publication brings concrete information of the big political groups to the attention of voters to boost citizens’ knowledge and understanding on what the EU can and will do for families’ well-being. It compares the various family policies of the Political Groups in the Parliament concerning the following social policy areas:

1. Jobs
2. Work-Life Balance
3. Family Carers, Disability or long-term illness in the Family
4. Housing
5. Energy
6. Migrant and Transnational Families
7. Financial Inclusion and the impact on families

COFACE’s analysis covers the main political groups: the European People’s Parts (EPP), the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), the Greens and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group. Not all of our questions received an answer from each group.

 

 

CECODHAS Housing Europe

The Federation of Public, Cooperative & Social Housing – CECODHAS – has published a document called ‘9 Paths to Better Homes for a Better Europe – Our Manifesto of Demands and Proposals for the European Elections 2014‘ in April2014.

You can follow the manifesto campaign on twitter under the hashtag #HousingEP14.

Their campaign outline starts off saying ‘We, social, public and co-operatives housing providers work together for a Europe which provides access to adequate and affordable housing that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable and creates communities where all are enabled to reach their full potential.

We want to be part of the solution that Europe needs to deliver. Europe has to find a way to do better with less. This is why our solution stands on three pillars that will lead to better public budgets in each Member State as well as for Europe as a whole.’

housingeurope_graphic1_2014

 

 

European Left Party Manifesto 2014

Member Parties of the EL are socialist, communist, red-green and other democratic left parties of the member states and associated states of the European Union (EU) that work together and establish various forms of co-operation at all levels of political activity in Europe, based on the agreements, basic principles and political aims laid down in the EL Manifesto.

The Party of the European Left is celebrating its 10th birthday on 9 May – See more at: http://www.european-left.org/positions/news-archive/el-10th-anniversary#sthash.Muqolrez.dpuf
The Party of the European Left is celebrating its 10th birthday on 9 May – See more at: http://www.european-left.org/positions/news-archive/el-10th-anniversary#sthash.Muqolrez.dpuf
The Party of the European Left is celebrating its 10th birthday on 9 May – See more at: http://www.european-left.org/positions/news-archive/el-10th-anniversary#sthash.Muqolrez.dpuf
The Party of the European Left is celebrating its 10th birthday on 9 May – See more at: http://www.european-left.org/positions/news-archive/el-10th-anniversary#sthash.Muqolrez.dpuf
The Party of the European Left is celebrating its 10th birthday on 9 May – See more at: http://www.european-left.org/positions/news-archive/el-10th-anniversary#sthash.Muqolrez.dpuf

You can find a list of the European Left’s Member Parties here

According to the European Left’s website poll results across Europe show a particularly encouraging rise in the popularity of the Left. According to some estimates, the European Parliamentary Group of the Left (GUE-NGL), is expected to increase its number of MEP’s from 35 to at least 60 in the upcoming Parliamentary elections this May.

Alexis Tsipras’ candidacy for President of the European Commission on behalf of the European Left has energized the Leftist movements across Europe fighting against neoliberalism, austerity and poverty.

Here is the European Left’s 2014 Election Manifesto

vote european left

Age Platform Europe’s Manifesto EP2014

AGE Platform Europe is governed by the General Assembly composed of all AGE’s members, and by its elected representatives meeting in an Executive Committee and a Council of Administration.

The European Parliament is working on a broad range of issues concerning older people, such as pensions, health, transport or ICT, and the committees are working and voting on reports and opinions regularly.

Ahead of the elections of the European Parliament in May 2014, AGE is running a campaign to raise awareness of the need to take effective overarching measures to promote age-friendly environments at EU level and mobilize seniors’ organisations across Europe to get actively involved in those elections at national levels.

To this end, AGE has drafted a Manifesto for the European Parliament elections 2014 which was officially launched at a European Parliament eventhosted by MEP Claude Moraes on 5 November 2013. AGE EP Manifesto proposes a series of actions in the fields of non-discrimination, social protection, health, accessibility, employment, research and the fight against elder abuse with a view to create an Age-Friendly European Union.

AGE has also launched a blog ‘Towards an Age-friendly European Parliament (towardsanagefriendlyep.com) to support the campaign. This blog aims at becoming a hub on AGE campaign, presenting in greater details AGE Manifesto, gathering commitments from candidate MEPs, testimonies from older Europeans, training material on EU citizenship and news from all over Europe about on-going campaigns for the elections. This blog will serve as an interactive and comprehensive tool to discuss and share information on issues of concern for older persons in Europe.

AGE Platform Europe calls on the candidate MEPs to look to creating an Age-Friendly European Union through ensuring that EU policies and initiatives will:

1- Promote equal opportunities and the realisation of human rights for all
2- Guarantee the adequacy, fairness and sustainability of Europe’s social and health protection systems
3- Ensure universal access to goods and services, in particular to the built environment, ICT, mobility and public services
4- Support the right to grow and age in good mental and physical health
5- Create age-friendly labour markets and economy
6- Involve older persons in all policy and research processes that concern them
7- Protect the right for all to live and die in dignity

EuroCarers Manifesto EP2014

The role of carers is more crucial than ever due to demographic changes and challenges to formal health and social care services throughout Europe. Eurocarers brings together organisations representing carers and those involved in research and development.

Eurocarers lists these EU facts in their manifesto:

80% of care across the EU is provided by informally spouses, relatives and friends – usually unpaid.
These carers will become even more important as the number of older people is increasing.
The economic value of unpaid informal care – as a percentage of the overall cost of formal long-term care provision – ranges from 50 % to 90 % across the EU.
Caring can be a source of personal satisfaction and emotional gratification….
…but it can also have challenging health, financial, social and employment consequences.
The increasing labour market participation of the main carers, i.e. women and older workers and other demographic developments are leading to decreasing availability of carers.
Carers cannot do their work without proper recognition and support (in policy and practice).

All Member States face the same challenges in terms of long-term care provision.
All Member States need the informal care resource to prevent social security systems collapsing.

Eurocarers’ Manifesto for EP2014 gives guidance to MEP candidates how they can support carers should they be elected to the European Parliament.

Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament was created in 2009 to campaign for what it calls ‘urgent reform of the European Union’. They believe it is time to make Europe work again: both economically and for its people. The European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) is a conservative, non-federalist political group in the European Parliament. The group currently comprises 57 MEPs, making it the fifth largest group in the Parliament. The British Conservatives – after leaving the European People’s Party – have been a member of this group in the European Parliament.

The ECR’s founding ideals are based on the Prague Declaration, which calls for an EU of openness, transparency, and particularly eurorealism. The eurorealism concept distinguishes the ECR’s agenda from the other political groups.

They say about themselves ‘We believe in a new direction for the EU, which does not destroy the organisation or undermine cooperation. However, we want to steer the EU away from the ideological march towards a European federal super state and towards a more flexible organisation that listens to and respects people in all of its member countries. Instead of clinging to outdated ideals of European integration we believe in equipping the EU with the practical solutions required to rise to today’s challenges. We want to make the EU open for trade, closer to its people, living within its means and delivering value, and respectful of the diversity across Europe. Above all, we want an EU of cooperation and common sense.’

Outside the European Parliament, the broader Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR) contains a number of parties, including governing parties of three EU Member States, and Prime Minister David Cameron.

As the AECR is an Alliance and not a joined up Party made up of member parties, it has not published a joint election manifesto. In April 2014 it published what it calls ‘The Reykjavik Declaration’ which states

The Reykjavík Declaration

  • The Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR) brings together parties committed to individual liberty, national sovereignty, parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, private property, low taxes, sound money, free trade, open competition, and the devolution of power.
  • AECR believes in a Europe of independent nations, working together for mutual gain while each retaining its identity and integrity.
  • AECR is committed to the equality of all European democracies, whatever their size, and regardless of which international associations they join.
  • AECR favours the exercise of power at the lowest practicable level – by the individual where possible, by local or national authorities in preference to supranational bodies.
  • AECR understands that open societies rest upon the dignity and autonomy of the individual, who should be as free as possible from state coercion. The liberty of the individual includes freedom of religion and worship, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of movement and association, freedom of contract and employment, and freedom from oppressive, arbitrary or punitive taxation.
  • AECR recognises the equality of all citizens before the law, regardless of ethnicity, sex or social class. It rejects all forms of extremism, authoritarianism and racism.
  • AECR cherishes the important role of civil associations, families and other bodies that fill the space between the individual and the government.
  • AECR acknowledges the unique democratic legitimacy of the nation-state.
  • AECR is committed to the spread of free commerce and open competition, in Europe and globally.
  • AECR supports the principles of the Prague Declaration of March 2009 and the work of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the European Parliament and allied groups on the other European assemblies.

Member Parties of this Group include the following:

  •   The Conservative Party
  •   Law and Justice
  •   Polska Jest Najważniejsza
  •   Civic Democratic Party
  •   Libertarian Direct Democratic Party
  •   For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK
  •   Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania
  •   Christian Union
  •  Movimento Conservatori Social Riformatori