Tag Archives: politics

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.

European Environmental Bureau (EEB) & Spring Alliance Manifesto

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is the environmental voice of European citizens. Created in 1974, the EEB is now Europe’s largest federation of environmental organisations with 140+ member organisations who gain their membership from the general public. Because of this, they are guided by the voices of 15 million European citizens, and act as the ears and voice of its members towards the EU decision makers and beyond.

The EEB works on a vast array of environmental issues and  its policy officers use experts, scientists, members, and politicians to work towards developing and protecting environmental policies.The EEB office in Brussels closely coordinates EU-oriented activities with EEB Members at national level around Europe. The EEB also works with wider coalitions, one of them being the Spring Alliance.

The Spring Alliance brings together civil society stakeholders from environmental, social and development organizations and trade unions. It aims to present a positive vision for a Europe that puts people and planet first. Despite a prevailing sense of crisis, the Spring Alliance believes that there is still an opportunity to adopt a better way towards solving Europe’s problems.

Together, the Alliance’s members have developed a comprehensive political manifesto that can put Europe back on track in their view.
This manifesto proposes six solutions to six key challenges. Download in full here.

  1. Ensure transparency and stronger democratic accountability of the EU institutions towards citizens.
  2. Reduce poverty and guarantee universal social protection.
  3. Create jobs and ensure quality employment for all.
  4. Significantly reduce Europe’s environmental footprint by putting in place effective policies in the Areas of climate, energy efficiency, renewables, biodiversity, air quality, chemicals and waste and product design.
  5. Implement a coherent global justice policy: stop resource grabbing, allow other continents to develop themselves and refrain from bilateral trade and investment deals which undermine the protection of public interests.
  6. End austerity and launch a recovery plan that places people and planet first.

 

Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said “Developing bold environmental policies is central to building a greener economy and allowing us to exit the crisis sustainably.”

“Inequality is a global issue, increasingly so in Europe. It’s not just about incomes, GDP and economic development. It is also about dealing with the root causes of inequalities within societies. To make a difference, EU leaders should take a stand against tax dodging and support a financial transaction tax” said Seamus Jeffreson, Director of CONCORD, European Development NGOs.

“With rising poverty, exclusion and inequalities the EU faces a time of distrust and disenchantment” Said Heather Roy, President of Social Platform. “Solidarity between member states is being called into question and we are far from reaching the Europe 2020 targets. We need strong democratic legitimacy and accountability, and economic policies that ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.

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 People’s Party (EPP) Platform

The European People’s Party (EPP) is the political family of the centre-right in the European Parliament. They are the party of Germany’s Merkel and used to be the group to which the UK Conservatives were allied – before the Tories left the EPP to join another group.

Founded in 1976, the EPP strives – in its own words – for a democratic, transparent and efficient Europe that is close to its citizens. “The EPP wants a prosperous Europe through the promotion of a free market economy with a social consciousness. The EPP is the largest political organisation in Europe with over 70 member-parties from 40 countries, the most heads of state and government (both, EU and non-EU), 13 European Commissioners (including the President), and the largest Group in the European Parliament.”

You can see exactly which parties make up the EPP in which EU country here: http://www.epp.eu/member-parties

EPP Platform

The EPP Party Platform is the core programme of the party outlining their main values, explaining the challenges society is facing and presenting their vision for the future of European Union.

The Party Platform was developed in EPP Working Group 1 for “European Policy” chaired by EPP President Wilfried MARTENS and EPP Vice President Peter HINTZE.  The Working Group consists of delegates of EPP member parties who prepared and worked on this document for more than two years and received input from the drafting committee as well as senior and young experts.

The document was adopted at the 2012 EPP Congress in Bucharest, thus replacing the Basic Programme of Athens from 1992.

Click here to read the EPP Platform

Here you find the website of the EPP’s candidate for President http://juncker.epp.eu/

EPP Website

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

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Party

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party describes itself as the party for liberal democrat values in Europe.

Together with our liberal member parties across the European continent we are translating the principle of freedom into politics, economics and all other areas of our societies. The ALDE Party provides an increasingly vital link between citizens and the EU institutions and is continuously growing in size and significance.

Liberal Democrats created their European political family in 1976 in view of the first European elections and in 1993 was established as a true transnational political party.

The ALDE Party consists of 57 member parties from across Europe.

The ALDE Party brings together Members of the European Parliament from among its member parties. Together with the MEPs from the European Democratic Party they form the third largest political force, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group, which is led by Guy Verhofstadt.

Every five years, European Liberal Democrats approve a common political programme for the European elections. Here is their 2014 Manifesto

ALDE Party_2014 Manifesto

The ALDE Party‘s overall values are described like this:

Democracy, the rule of law, human rights, tolerance and solidarity
The ALDE Party believes in a Europe based on the fundamental Liberal principles of liberty, democracy, the rule of law, human rights, tolerance and solidarity.

A fair, free and open society
We believe in a fair, free and open society which harnesses the abilities of each and every one of its citizens to participate fully in society, presenting them with the opportunities to fulfill their potential, free from poverty, ignorance, and discrimination.

A prosperous Europe
To achieve these goals, we are striving to complete the internal market as a truly common economic area without internal frontiers and to reform Europe’s economy to make it more prosperous and competitive, with more jobs and stable prices for consumers, based on the principle of globally inclusive international free trade.

Sustainable development and peace in the world
We are working to promote sustainable development and to protect our environment. We are campaigning for a safe and just society, ensuring a more peaceful and stable world.

EU enlargement
As the most consistent and long-standing advocates of an early and wide enlargement of the European Union, we are delighted to have welcomed into the Union our friends from the new Member States. We are firmly resolved to further deepen, reinforce and enlarge the European Union.

A transparent, democratic and accountable Europe
We campaign for a more transparent, democratic and accountable Europe, taking decisions only on those matters which require European solutions. We are in favour of a systematic application of the subsidiarity principle in order to bring decision-making as close to the citizen as possible.

A European Constitution
ALDE Party supports a constitutional settlement for Europe. Liberal Democrats all over Europe have always campaigned for a strong constitution as the basis of democracy.

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