We have voted and elected our representatives in the European Parliament

Dear readers,

We have voted and elected our representatives in the European Parliament. We have voted, and above all understood that our vote has the power to influence our daily lives.

The European Parliament carried out an extensive campaign to encourage people to go out and vote. The 51% participation demonstrated that, amongst other things, this time we managed to pass a message on to the public to the effect that it was important to vote. The EESC and its members were active on the electoral scene in local districts and regions and within organisations, stressing the impact of each and every person's vote in the major democratic electoral exercise of 26 May.

What initial conclusions can be drawn from the result?
1. For the first time in 20 years, turnout in the elections has increased;
2. National populist and extreme right-wing parties have indeed made progress, but that progress has been less than predicted;
3. A veritable wave of Greens has swept over the European scene;
4. The success of numerous candidates demonstrated that, beyond the essential use of social media, it was direct contact on the ground between candidates and the general public that brought added value in terms of bringing the Union closer to its citizens.

I firmly believe that we are witnessing a relaunch of Europe. A turnout of over 50% in the elections means that interest in Europe has increased and that the electorate is asking for a different deal and for Europe to be a fairer and better place for its inhabitants. I want to believe that, as the home of civil society, we can bring our energy to this project.

We, the players of organised civil society, can be more active and dynamic in the action we take. We need to do even more to ensure that the presence of nationalist-populists and Eurosceptics in the European Parliament does not influence the implementation of European policies.

Europeans are asking of the new legislature, of the new president of the European Commission, and of those who exercise the executive and legislative powers of the European Union, that they respond to their expectations and aspirations.

Many decisions still have to be made for the EU to progress further: greater ambition in relation to the climate, fairer digitalisation of the economy which is geared to people, responses to the challenge of immigration and the right to asylum, funding for the EU, steps to reduce social inequalities and boost solidarity between regions, implementation of the European pillar of social rights, a new industrial policy for Europe, etc. All these are priorities with which our institutions will have to deal.

In the new European landscape taking shape before our very eyes, in our capacity as civil society we will have to assume our role, make public debate more dynamic through our initiatives and accompany this new approach and new energy with daring vision. This is the task awaiting us.

 

Isabel Caño

Vice-president for communication