The European Elections are taking place over the next few days throughout Europe. This is a key opportunity for each and every citizen to help format the future of the European Union. In the eyes of the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities, it is key to create a Social Europe in order to ensure a sustainable future to the European project, the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and a suitable framework for social service providers to work in. For that reason, EASPD wishes to encourage everyone to go and vote in the next European elections to make sure that we have a European Parliament and Commission, which will support the work of social service providers throughout Europe.
With over 26 million Europeans unemployed and over 120 million living in poverty or at risk of poverty, it is clear to all that something needs to change. Although the EU cannot be entirely blamed for all that has gone wrong over the past few years, the institutions have certainly failed to fully protect the social rights of many Europeans, especially its most excluded. The emphasis on austerity rather than on growth, the focus on the economy rather than on the social and the increasing penetration of market mechanisms in the social services sector only goes to demonstrate the failure of our political leaders in truly understanding the needs and wishes of most Europeans.
Change is necessary. We need a Europe that not only creates growth and jobs, but also a Europe which further protects and ensures the rights of its citizens. We need a fairer Social Europe; both truly inclusive and democratic. Only through this can Europe fulfil its potential, only through this can the European Union have a future. However, if we want a more Social Europe, we have to express this sentiment by voting in the upcoming European elections.
We should also not forget that thanks to the European Union, the enjoyment of human rights by persons with disability is much higher on the political agenda than it has ever been. Furthermore, the European Union has led to improved cooperation between citizens across the continent, as demonstrated by the work we do here at EASPD.
This week’s European elections are even more important than the previous ones. For the first time, the European Parliament will propose its democratically-elected candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission; thus ensuring a certain political accountability of the European Commission over the next five years.
These elections are key for the future of the European Union. Let’s make sure it’s social, go and vote!
For more information, please contact Thomas Bignal, Policy & Communications Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org