2014 Electing Championsons for a Social Europe
Electing Champions for a Social Europe is a pan-European campaign carried out by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) and its members (29 national networks and 18 European organisations) representing hundreds of organisations on the ground working with thousands of European citizens as well as other partners supporting a social Europe.
√ A Social Pact for a Social Europe
√ An effective EU Strategy to fight poverty, social exclusion, inequalities and discrimination
√ Strengthened democracy and civil-society participation
√ An annual Hearing with People experiencing poverty in the European Parliament
See! EAPN’s MANIFESTO for the 2014 European Parliament Elections
If you are a candidate and wish to take & sign the pledge, you can download the document here as a Word document or a >PDF document and send it back fill in to sl-processed="1">firstname.lastname@example.org
The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) is the largest European network of national, regional and local networks, involving anti-poverty NGOs and grassroots groups as well as European Organisations, active in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. It was established in 1990.
Follow us!www.eapn.eu – EAPN on Twitter @EAPNEurope – EAPN on Facebook
On 25th of May, Belgium will vote at European level but also at Belgian level (for the federal and regional Parliaments). The Belgian Anti-Poverty Network (BAPN) is campaigning with three manifestos for the federal (national) and European elections:
- common manifesto of the Belgian Minimum Income Network (BMIN) – gathering anti-poverty networks, trade unions, academics and other organizations with regard to adequate minimum income;
- manifesto of BAPN for the federal elections in Belgium;
- manifesto of EAPN for the European elections.
How are the European elections organised?
Every five years, EU citizens choose who represents them in the European Parliament, the directly-elected institution that defends their interests in the EU decision-making process.
Each member state has the right to elect a fixed number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The allocation of seats is laid down in the European treaties on the basis of the principle of degressive proportionality: countries with a larger population have more seats than smaller countries, but the latter have more seats than strict proportionality would imply. For the 2014 election, according to the Lisbon Treaty, the number of MEPs ranges from six for Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Estonia to 96 for Germany.
Voting practices vary across the EU, although there are some common elements, the most important of which is that some form of proportional representation should be used. This gives larger and smaller political parties the chance to send their representatives to the European Parliament in line with the number of votes they receive. However, each country is free to decide on many important aspects of the voting procedure. For example, some split their territory into regional electoral districts, while others have a single electoral district. Countries may also decide on the exact day of the elections according to their voting traditions. European elections usually span four days, with voting in the UK and the Netherlands taking place on Thursday and residents of most other countries casting their vote on Sunday.
Elections are contested by national political parties but once MEPs are elected, most opt to become part of transnational political groups. Most national parties are affiliated to a European-wide political family so one of the big questions on election night is which of these European groupings will exert greater influence on the decisions taken in the next legislative term. The European Council must take the election results into account when choosing a nominee for the post of President of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU.
With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has become a powerful co-legislator and plays a determining role in shaping European policies. A vote in the European elections is every citizen’s chance to influence the shape of the Parliament and the decisions it takes over its five-year mandate.
Parliament starts its new term with seven political groups
25/06/2014 – Seven political groups have now been recognised as fulfilling the necessary criteria and will be starting their work at next week’s plenary session in Strasbourg where Parliament’s top posts will be decided by MEPs. Parliament rules foresee that political groups should have at least 25 MEPs from seven different member states. Read on to find out more about the political groups and their leaders.
Political groups play an important role in setting the Parliament’s agenda, the allocation of speaking time for debates as well as choosing the EP president, vice-presidents, committee chairs and the MEPs who should be charge of steering new legislative proposals through Parliament. Also, groups enjoy additional support.
Each group is provided with a secretariat to take care of its internal organisation. Members of the political groups appoint a chair or co-chairs that represent the group in theConference of Presidents.
These are the political groups for the 2014-2019 legislative term, in order of membership as of 24 June 2014:
|Political group||Chair or co-chair||Number of members|
|Group of the European People’s Party (EPP)||Manfred Weber (Germany). This is his third term in the EP. In the last legislature he was a member of the constitutional affairs committee.||221|
|Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D)||Martin Schulz (Germany). He has been an MEP for 20 years and served as president of the European Parliament from 2012 until June this year.||191|
|European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)||Syed Kamall (UK). He joined the EP in 2005. In the previous term he was a member of the economy committee.||70|
|Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)||Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium). The Belgian former prime minister chaired the group during the last term too.||67|
|European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)||Gabriele Zimmer (Germany). It is her third term in the EP. She has chaired the group since 2012.||52|
|The Greens/European Free Alliances (Greens/EFA)||Philippe Lamberts (Belgium) and Rebecca Harms (Germany) were elected co-chairs. Lamberts succeeds Daniel Cohn-Bendit (France). Harms already co-chaired in the last term.||50|
|Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFD)||Nigel Farage (UK) and David Borrelli (Italy). Mr Farage has been an MEP since 1999 and already co-chaired the political group in the last term. Mr Borrelli served as a city councillor in Treviso. This is his first term in Parliament.||48|
Martin Schulz re-elected President of the European Parliament
01/07/2014 – MEPs re-elected Martin Schulz as President of the European Parliament on Tuesday morning for another two and a half year term. The 58-year old German MEP will lead Parliament until January 2017. He won 409 out of 612 valid votes cast in the first ballot.
Mr Schulz is the first President in the history of the European Parliament to be re-elected for a second two and a half year term.
In a brief address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg immediately after the vote, Mr Schulz thanked for MEPs for their confidence in him. “It’s an extraordinary honour to be the first re-elected President of the European Parliament. I will take my duty very seriously, because we are heart of the European democracy, keeping the task of passing legislation and overseeing its enforcement. An overwhelming majority of this house drew the conclusion that the leading candidate in the European election should become the President of European Commission, therefore a German word, Spitzenkandidat, has entered into several other European languages”.
Mr Schulz also emphasized that MEPs should “demand that people who trade with the EU should respect rule of law, not rule of the strongest. If the EU protects the people, we will win back their trust, irrespective of their origin or gender. The rule of respect and human dignity should guide everything we do and I know an overwhelming majority will share this view. Let us work and have constructive debate!”.
Gabriele Zimmer re-elected as GUE/NGL group chair
25/06/2014 – Gabriele Zimmer, a German member of Die Linke party, has been re-elected as the chair of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left group in the European Parliament. Let’s mention also that Ms Zimmer took EAPN’s pledge committing to EAPN’s manifesto on the fight against poverty, exclusion and inequalities!
She already held the office in the previous legislative term from March 2012 onwards, when she replaced Lothar Bisky, a fellow German member of Die Linke party. Watch the video interview to find out more about her group’s political course and the appointment of the Commission president.
Success! Over 10% of new European Parliament commits to fighting Poverty
The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) celebrates its campaign Electing Champions for a Social Europe as a success, with over 10% of the newly elected MEPs committed to fighting poverty, social exclusion, inequalities and discrimination./p>
“We are very proud of this campaign’s results, which give us hope, in a rather pessimistic context of low turn-out and rise in extreme-right, anti-democratic and euro-skeptical parties. With 10% of all MEPs committed for working against poverty, exclusion, inequalities and discrimination, this is a very positive step forward”, said Sergio Aires, President of EAPN.
“The low turn-out and rise in extreme-right parties are worrying trends though not surprising. We’ve been defending a clear shift in EU politics for several years now, and little has happened. Policies are still prioritizing macro-economic goals and austerity measures, regardless of their consequences for people, including rising poverty and inequality rates, with civil-society kept away from most decision-making processes. That attitude and the loss of democracy and transparency, is the most worrying, not to say dangerous, thing happening. EU leaders have been given, once again, a strong signal that they have to restore trust and humanity, democracy, solidarity and dignity to the EU, in fact its founding principles. If they don’t recognize this and act accordingly, we are afraid democracy will not survive”, Sergio Aires added.
82 out of 751 MEPs, i.e. over 10%, have taken EAPN’s pledge (that number might increase once the list of newly elected MEPs from Bulgaria and Italy has been confirmed).
27 MEPs are affiliated to S&D Group; 19 to Greens/EFA; 14 to GUE/NGL; 12 to EPP; 3 to ALDE; 5 are members of national political parties not affiliated to any EP Group; 2 are independent candidates.
The European Anti-Poverty Network launched the Electing Champions for a Social Europecampaign around the European elections, in a context of dreadful increases in poverty, social exclusion and inequality rates, and policies focused on austerity and macro-economic performances while dismantling the EU welfare states. Despite the EU target on poverty set by the Europe 2020 Strategy to lift 20 million people out of poverty by 2020, statistics show the following increases in poverty rates:
Between 2010 and 2011, the number of people at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion in the EU increased by 3.7 million (+0.7%), reaching the number of 121.2 million people in 2011 (24.3 % of the entire population). In 2012, 124.5 million people (24.8 %) at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
2012 124.5 million people. Since 2010, 6 million more people are living in or at risk of poverty in the EU.
Tiina Sandberg, Finnish candidate to the EP, from Communist Party of Finland, takes our pledge!
Tiina Sandberg, candidate to the European elections from Communist Party of Finland (SKP), not affiliated to any group in the EP, has taken our pledge! #electingchampions #EP2014
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and Toni Giugliano, UK candidates for Greens/EFA, take our pledge!
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and Toni Giugliano, both candidates for Scottish National Party, affiliated to Greens/EFA, ahve taken our pledge! #electingchampions #EP2014
Isabella Cirelli and Domenico Gattuso, Italian candidates for GUE/NGL, take our pledge!
Isabella Cirelli and Domenico Gattuso, Italian candidates for European Parliament Elections from The Other Europe with Tsipras party, affiliated to GUE/NGL Group in the EP, have taken our pledge #electingchampions #EP2014