The 26th of May, we Swedish citizens are set to vote in the EU-election that takes place once every four years. By voting in this election, we can participate in building the future of the EU.
As we Europeans currently face various challenges from climate change to migration, participating in this election is as important as ever. In our globalized world, questions such as democracy, equality, and human rights are important values for the EU to discuss and uphold. Trade, politics, and economics – essentially topics that have to do with our everyday lives, are all areas that the EU manages, which impacts us more than many may think. At the same time, the Brexit referendum has reminded us all that the European Union, unfortunately, is a project that can be revoked.
Some argue that climate change immediately needs to be addressed, while others might argue that migration and border security is a bigger priority. However, no matter what topics and questions might arise in the ever so wide EU-debate, we together need to decide what kind of Europe we want to live in. The European Parliament makes various important decisions: how to grow the economy, how to ensure the food we consume is safe, and how to limit energy usage. Therefore, by voting in the election, you get to choose who makes these decisions for us. In abstaining from voting however, you have no say in matters that affect your daily life.
In the challenges we face, problems are easier found when working together. For instance, the EU is paving way for innovation and investment that is necessary in order to tackle climate change. Furthermore, the EU works to protect our lives and privacy – by voting, we give the EU strength to do just that.
Democracy can be fragile, which is something we recently have been witnesses of. Whether it is in the form of the struggle for equality or the rise of far-right extremism in Sweden, it indicates that democracy is something we need to work in upholding. The European Union is based on shared values concerning fundamental rights and democratic principles – for yourself and others, your vote is your claim on those rights.
This is, therefore, a final urging for everyone to stand up for what you envision Europe to be. The importance of this urging lies not in who is voted on, but in promoting the act of voting. This time hoping for a better future is not enough – we need to actively take responsibility for it too.
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