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Why is it important to vote in elections: European Parliament Elections 2024

As the 2024 European Parliament Elections are just around the corner, we often hear how important it is to participate in the democratic process of electing those that will govern the EU in the next five years. But why?
In this article, we will discover:

  • What makes voting for the European Parliament (EP) unique?
  • How does the work of the EP affect my daily life?
  • How can I ensure my vote is informed?

In an era marked by turbulent political and social changes, the EU Election 2024 is a pivotal moment when Europeans can collectively shape the future of the European Union (EU). Voting is not merely a right but a responsibility that each citizen holds towards themselves and their community.

What makes voting for the EP unique?

The European Parliament is a vital organ of the EU, representing the interests of its citizens on the transnational, European, level. It plays a crucial role in shaping legislation, influencing EU policies, and overseeing the allocation of the EU budget. The EP is the only European institution elected by direct universal suffrage. Every European citizen has the right to vote and stand as candidate in their own country or the EU country they live in. As the only institution whose powers have been increasing in the past decades, the EP provides voters with a real opportunity to influence the policy-making process of the Union. 

How does the work of the EP affect my daily life?

Representation in the European Parliament is not merely symbolic; it's a mechanism through which the diverse voices of European citizens are heard. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are the direct link between citizens and the legislative process, making voting the most direct form of communication with policy-makers.

How does this work in practice? MEPs are directly elected by citizens, and most of them belong to EU political groups which form coalitions in parliament. Elected representatives in the European Parliament have the power to endorse, amend, or reject laws that impact all member states. They also exert influence over the choice of the European Commission president. This means that each vote for a Member of the European Parliament has a direct impact on the formation of policies that affect every aspect of daily life, from environmental regulations to consumer rights, from migration policies to economic strategies. By voting in the upcoming elections, citizens actively participate in deciding who will defend their views and concerns within the European political arena. 

How can I ensure my vote is informed?

An informed electorate is the backbone of a healthy democracy. By understanding the political programme proposed by each party, citizens can imagine the implications of future legislative proposals and how they align with their personal and communal values. Making an informed choice ensures that the voter’s aspirations and concerns truly resonate with the programmes of the elected representatives.
That is why the European University Institute (EUI) has developed the EU&I Voting Advice Application (VAA) — a pioneering tool designed to help citizens choose which party to vote for. The EU&I 2024 is a multilingual voting guide which matches the user’s preferences to the party positions in their country, as well as across Europe. It is easy to use and based on solid scientific research.