The effects of campaigns on participation in political decision-making (Exploratory opinion at the request of the Croatian presidency)

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advies EESC: The effects of campaigns on participation in political decision-making (Exploratory opinion at the request of the Croatian presidency)

Key points

The EESC:

  • encourages the Croatian presidency to act as a catalyst to foster close cooperation between all the EU institutions, in order to enhance European democracy throughout the new political cycle of the EU institutions;
  • calls on the EU institutions to build on the lessons learned from the 2019 elections with timely political action and a coordinated institutional effort to improve the current state of the EU's electoral process and maximise a satisfactory voter turnout in the 2024 European elections and beyond;
  • calls for adequate budgetary and staffing allocations for the Parliament's work on campaigns, in order to deepen and broaden its rich network of civil society affiliates, volunteers and opinion-makers, deliver a series of thematic campaigns over the next five years and prepare an agile 2024 election campaign;
  • calls for still closer cooperation between the Parliament, Commission and Member States, as well as with the EESC and the Committee of Regions and all relevant stakeholders, on a well thought-out design and on both decentralised and centralised delivery of future information campaigns on EU affairs and the next European elections;
  • expresses its firm support for the EU's current efforts to counter disinformation – external and domestic – and urges the Commission to ensure full compliance and follow-up regulatory action in respect of the Code of Practice on Disinformation, further development of the recently established "rapid alert system" and STRATCOM's intelligence units, and the expansion of the European External Action Service's action against disinformation;
  • strongly supports the European Commission's proposal to develop a "European Democracy Action Plan" which should be comprehensive and continuous;
  • calls on the EU institutions and the Croatian presidency to pay continuing attention to the EU's budget-related negotiations on allocations for education on EU values, institutional affairs and citizenship, as a core vehicle for European democracy;
  • calls on the Council and the Commission to pay special attention to the burning issue of the inclusion of persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, migrants, rural poor and other disadvantaged social groups who have been chronically underrepresented in the European elections across the EU Member States;
  • strongly supports: (1) continuous, active work by election coordination networks with national focal points, which should act as a catalyst for rapid improvements; (2) enhanced regulatory oversight of European political parties in respect of transparency in campaigning and party finances, compliance with data protection rules and adherence to EU values; (3) additional incentives for European political parties to enhance their political consistency and public involvement across and beyond national member parties, (4) measures to allow full participation in the democratic process of all marginalised and disenfranchised social groups.