Next spring, hundreds of millions of citizens will elect a new European Parliament. EU citizens will carefully evaluate candidates and programmes before making choices that will shape the future of our continent and our role in the world for years to come. The European Union, a unique shared project underpinned by peaceful cooperation, is under threat by forces who wish to destroy what we have achieved together.
This is in contrast with recent surveys indicating a growing favourable opinion towards the EU. For the first time, 48% of European citizens believe that ”their voice counts in the EU”. Despite differences among Member States, this represents an overall 10% point increase over the last ten years.
However, much work must still be done.
We have to change Europe and make it more effective by answering citizens’ concerns and building upon what we have already achieved.
Over the next months, in particular, our citizens will scrutinise how and what the European Union is doing to protect them, create new opportunities and project a strong European Union abroad. They will expect answers to concerns regarding migration flows, security, the environment and jobs. We must work hard to ensure that our citizens are aware of the results MEPs are delivering every day, like asylum reform, working more closely with Africa, fighting terrorism, anti- dumping measures to protect European jobs, holding web giants to account or protecting private data.
Since last year, we have put the European Parliament - the EU’s only directly elected institution – at the heart of the discussion on Europe’s future. Government leaders are now joining us regularly to outline their respective visions to us. This has led to lively debates that will lay the groundwork for us to improve the European project.
In parallel, in June, we welcomed more than 8,000 young people to Strasbourg, allowing us to learn more about the next generation’s hopes and concerns, but most of all, how we can take Europe forward together.
The media will play a central role in informing and reflecting public opinion in the run-up to these elections. In order to follow campaigns in individual Member States, understand their impact and the changes that they will bring to the European Parliament in 2019, we have prepared an online press tool kit, which will be regularly updated. It includes useful contacts, an overview of our work and achievements over the course of the current mandate, an election app for portable devices, links to background notes, graphics and public opinion data, among other things, all designed to help you quickly find relevant, up-to-date information. I hope you find it useful.
Thank you for the work you do to bring the European Union closer to its citizens.