On Friday 23rd of May you will be presented with two ballot papers when you go to vote:
- one to select your public representatives for your local area
- one to select your public representatives for the European Parliament (MEPs)
All countries in the European Union will be holding similar European Parliament elections and will elect a total of 751 MEPs. These coming European elections are more important than previous ones. Our new MEPs now ‘co-decide’ virtually all European legislation and set the EU budget – amounting to over €140 billion each year. For the first time the members of the European Parliament will select the next European Commission President. This means influencing the direction of European social and economic policy. Our votes will impact on whether that choice will be a socialist and democratic left, anti-austerity leaning president in the shape of Martin Schulz or the right austerity leaning Jean-Claude Juncker. The majority grouping will have the majority vote.
Who do we vote for?
This is why we all need to vote and we need to vote for our local Labour European Candidate. In our case in Dublin, that candidate is Emer Costello.
As Dublin’s MEP over the past two-and-a-half years, Emer has championed the concept of a European Youth Guarantee, based on the best practice of Austria, Germany and the Nordics, to tackle the scourge of youth unemployment.
This was agreed during Ireland’s EU presidency last year and Europe is now investing €130 million to roll out the programme in Ireland by the end of next year.
After six months as an MEP she was elected by her fellow MEPs to be the Parliament’s lead negotiator for the new European anti-poverty programme, tackling severe material deprivation, especially food poverty and homelessness.
At the outside of this work, a ‘blocking minority’ of five Member States – Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, and Sweden – were opposed to this programme.
But by working with MEPs from Labour’s sister parties and supportive MEPs from other groups, and with the Irish Presidency, they were able to both overcome this opposition and to increase the proposed budget from €2.5 billion to €3.8 billion. Ireland’s allocation under the new programme will double compared to the programme it replaces.
Emer ensured last March that the European Parliament for the first time ever came out in support of Ireland’s campaign to lessen its legacy debt burden. Click on the image below to view Emer speak on this issue.
Emer is hard working and dedicated to supporting and progressing Ireland’s recovery – giving her your Number 1 vote will help us all and help Europe put people and not economic markets at the centre of European policy.