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Why vote in the upcoming European elections? European Law (LL.M.) students explain

Between 6 and 9 June, you’ll be able to vote in the European elections. But what can you expect from these elections? What are the most important topics on the European agenda? And why should you even vote? Students from the European Law master’s specialisation explain.

Robert Leahy

Why are these elections important?

‘All elections are important, but these elections are perhaps more important than most as we’re at a turning point in European history. In these elections, we can decide which way things turn: towards a Europe that continues to respect the rule of law and democratic freedom, with the capacity to stand up to those who would challenge these values on the world stage, or towards one that doesn’t.’

What do you expect from these elections?

‘I expect there to be greater polarisation within EU politics than before. Given the increasing allure of populism, I expect nationalist Eurosceptic parties in Member States to be voted into seats in the European Parliament – and perhaps even in record numbers. However, I also believe that many pro-integration parties will be boosted by those who don’t agree with the direction national politics seems to be taking in many Member States.’

Why is it important that students cast their votes?

‘We’re the ones who will have to live longest with the outcomes of these elections. Young people’s voices tend not to be accurately represented in elections due to the lower turnout within that demographic. We can’t complain about not being listened to, while at the same time failing to vote and use our voice. If we want things to change, the ballot box needs to feel it first.’

François Bernard

Why are the upcoming elections important?

The upcoming European elections are especially important because we live in complicated times marked by major crises, and so effective management is essential. For that to happen, European citizens have a duty to participate in this process by setting our priorities and deciding how they’re implemented. It’s especially important for young people and students to be politically active as it will shape the world we will live in.

What do you expect from the upcoming elections?

I expect the upcoming European elections to result in a stronger stance from the EU towards human rights violations happening across the world. From the war in Ukraine to the situation in Palestine to the plight of the Uyghurs, the European Union shouldn’t turn a blind eye. It should instead use its position as a key international player to take a stronger stance on these issues. The climate situation is also worse than ever before, and I also expect more ambitious campaigns from a supranational organisation such as the European Union to ensure that Member States are actively working to reduce their negative impact on the planet.

Simon Kieftenburg

What are the most important topics in these elections?

The key topics are agriculture, the environment, migration, armed conflict and remaining a major player in international trade.

Why is it important that people vote?

The European Union has more of an impact on our daily lives than people think. If you care about your standard of living, it’s essential that you vote in the upcoming elections. It’s also important to realise that not casting your vote will only benefit the largest political group. If people only vote when they’re unhappy or frustrated with the current political situation, the extremist parties will gain the most votes. That’s why you should also vote when you’re not particularly happy or unhappy with the political situation. Finally, it’s also a moment we should enjoy: the right to vote gives us the opportunity to participate in the politics of a key global player.

EU Talks?!

Robert, Simon and François are all members of EU Talks?!, a project led by students for students. The purpose of this project is to discuss EU-relevant topics with experts. The next event will focus on the need for environmental ambition and social considerations.

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