#OPISKELIJANTURVANA: FIVE REASONS TO VOTE IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
The preliminary voting for the European Parliamentary election starts on Wednesday 15.5. and the election day is less than two weeks away. Why should you get excited about the EU election when the Finnish Parliamentary election was just a few weeks ago? And what how can we even affect the EU decision making?
DEMOCRACY. The European Parliamentary election is the world’s second largest democratic election. Only India’s Parliamentary election is bigger. 751 members will be elected into the European Parliament and there are over 500 million EU citizens. Voting is super important for the sake of democracy. By voting we make sure the MEPs really represent the view of the people. As EU citizens we get to live in a democratic society that honors the principles of a constitutional state. Thus voting is a privilege for us. You don’t need to be educated in politics or be familiar with the union to vote, the vote of every citizen has as much weight.
CLIMATE CHANGE. According to the youth barometer the worry about climate change among young people is alarming. The European Parliamentary election offers a better chance to battle climate change than the Finnish Parliamentary election. EU has considerably more opportunities to battle climate change than individual member countries. Together we make up for over one fifth of the global market and EU is a respected partner around the world. By showing example as a pioneer in the fight against climate change EU has a great opportunity to really change the world.
FREE MOVEMENT. To us 90s kids free movement is something taken for granted. At least I don’t remember border control when traveling to other EU countries. The free movement of people, goods, services and funds allows us to go shopping in global chains both online and physical stores. Students have great opportunities to complete whole degrees or Erasmus exchange semesters in other EU countries. Thanks to free movement traveling from one EU country to another is quick, easy and getting cheaper every day thanks to i.e. the removal of roaming fees.
EVERY VOTE COUNTS. The voting percentage in the European Parliamentary election is clearly lower than in the Finnish Parliamentary election. That’s why each vote weighs a lot. If you don’t use your vote, someone else’s vote with weigh more. In the European Parliamentary election the electoral district is the whole country, so you can vote for any Finnish candidate. If all young people would activate themselves to vote, we could get two MEPs of our own (young candidates). Think about that. The sleeping party has no representation in the Brussels.
YOUNG PEOPLE NEED TO GET THEIR VOICE HEARD. According to a study made by JEF and Taloustutkimus over 80% of young people think EU membership is a good thing for Finland. Almost 90% consider themselves as EU citizens. Yet, only around 10% of Finnish people under the age of 25 voted in the previous European Parliamentary election. Political decisions affect the lives of young people the most, because we will live with the made decisions the longest. That’s why young people should be listened to extra carefully and we should make the most noise about our hopes and what kind of a world we want to live in. We can’t take the benefits brought by EU – such as peace, free movement, security and common market – for granted, as the Brexit vote taught us. You people weren’t activated to vote for the EU membership because they took it for granted. The vote went the other way and the young people lost because of their passivity. If we don’t stand up to protect our interests, nor will anyone else.
See you at the voting stall! The preliminary voting is held from 15.-21.5. and the election day is on Sunday 26.5. All you need to bring along is an ID. The best way to increase the voting activity of young people is to encourage your friends to vote as well.
The author is the chairperson of JEF, who wishes to encourage everyone to vote in the European Parliamentary election, because now it’s the young people’s turn.