There’s now only one day to go until voting starts for the 2014 European Parliament elections! Each country in the EU has its own electoral laws that determine exactly which day citizens will be voting during the four-day election period from 22 to 25 May. The results will be announced on the evening of Sunday 25 May, and you can check the Debating Europe website throughout the vote to keep up to date.
The latest polling from PollWatch2014 suggests “the main trend overall will be a dramatic polarisation of the Parliament” with support dropping for the centre-right and centre-left but growing for anti-establishment parties on the farther ends of the political spectrum. They predict that traditional parties will be forced to work together in a “squeezed middle”, though altogether the mainstream left and right will collect most of the votes.
Some countries, however, could be heading for an outright rejection of mainstream politics; the far-right Front National are polling in first place in France, whilst the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has been topping the polls in Great Britain. However, the most dramatic results could be in Greece, where the Radical Left SYRIZA could collect up to 30% of the vote and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn hopes to achieve as much as 10%.
Our own Debating Europe Vote 2014 asked our audience (over 60% of whom are under 35) who they intended to vote for. Over 19,000 people from across Europe answered, and the Social Democrats came out on top with 22%, whilst the Radical Left also did very well (suggesting that young voters might be more likely to reject the status quo).
Have YOU decided who you will be voting for? In case you haven’t made up your mind yet, we thought we would present some of the arguments put forward by the politicians we interviewed over the last year, calling on YOU to vote for their party.
Let’s start with Jerzy Buzek, a Polish MEP and former President of the European Parliament, a member of the Centre-Right (European People’s Party). Why did he think his party deserved your vote?
We also spoke to Saïd El Khadraoui, a Belgian MEP for the Social Democrats (Party of European Socialists). Why did he think people should vote for the centre-left?
What about Marietje Schaake, a Dutch MEP with the Liberal Democrats (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe). Why did she think people should vote for the liberals?
Or how about Sven Giegold, a German MEP with the Greens? What would he say to voters?
I think our position is very clear. We are a pro-European party and we want Europe to be more integrated. We think a united Europe is the future in order to have a strong voice in a globalized world and to help contribute to resolve the big problems facing the world, including climate change, resource scarcity and social inequalities. At the same time, the Greens are not only about material interests. Instead, we combine material interests with strong values such sustainability and the protection of the planet, as well as the fight against poverty and social inequalities. Therefore, if you vote for us you are supporting a pro-European party which is very much about fighting for the common good.
We also asked Struan Stevenson, a British MEP with the Conservatives (Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists), why he thought his party should get your vote:
I would say they should support the European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR) parties because we are European realists. We want to see reform, we want to see a cut in red tape, we want to see the regionalisation and restoration of many powers back to the Member States, but we still want to see Europe having a successful single market, with freedom of movement and the dismantling of barriers to growth. Only the ECR parties are advocating policies like these.
How about Gabriele Zimmer, a German MEP and leader of the Radical Left group in the European Parliament? Why did she think people should vote for her party?
Finally, what about Morten Messerschmidt, a Danish MEP with the Eurosceptics (Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy). Here’s why he thinks people should vote for eurosceptics tomorrow:
The present European policies when it comes to fighting crime, the economic crisis and control over budgets have failed. What we are seeing right now is an EU out of control – not only economically but also politically and democratically. We need to get these institutions back on track to where the people want them. This means less areas being controlled down to the smallest details by bureaucrats in Brussels, and instead being handed back to national parliaments and governments. And that’s the overall question for the May 2014 European Parliament elections: do we want to have an EU with further integration, with more power to the unelected people in Brussels? Or do we want to hand power back to Member States? And I favour the latter.
Tomorrow is YOUR chance to make your voice heard! If you feel that politicians never listen to ordinary people, then now is your opportunity to have your say on the future of Europe. We love discussion and debate about politics, but now it’s time to make a decision. Get out there and vote!