Quick guide to the EU | Step 4: YOU
As discussed in previous articles the European Union is a rather complex entity threading the line between a pseudo-federation and a ‘marriage of convenience’. But the question most commonly asked is where do I fit into this? Well, you as a citizen are much more involved than you may think.
Firstly, while most of you were too young or not even born in some instances, the electorate – people who can vote - still had to be consulted on whether or not the county should seek membership into the EU or, in one particular case, leave. Now, where are you directly involved? The most democratic branch of the EU is the European Parliament. This is because the representatives of your country within the European Parliament are directly elected by you. They are elected to put forward their policy and issues in the Parliament.
Also, let’s not forget about the Council, where national ministers from across the EU meet. They have equal power to the Parliament when it comes to EU law. Who sits on the Council is decided by national Parliamentary elections. You should #GiveAVote there too.
Of course, there are many reasons you can come up with for not needing to vote. However, firstly, the whole premise behind democracy is that, as much as possible, the people, or the electorate as they tell us in the law course, are in charge of who gets elected. Those who are elected are there to represent your thoughts on certain issues.
If you don’t vote you’re cutting yourself out of the system. How you feel and what you think will basically be irrelevant. Why? Politicians only care about those who vote and they’re not really bothered about your opinion if you’re not voting.
Your vote is basically an indication to politicians showing them what you believe in. It’s easy to be lazy and not care but that’s gonna come back and bite you. Why? Say you’re opposed to something. Not acting doesn’t make the thing go away, it increases the chances of it actually happening.
What if you’re sure your party or candidate is going to lose? Let’s look at it from the winner’s perspective – there’s a difference between winning by 1000 votes and winning by 100 votes. You voting – even though you lost – narrows the gap between you and the winner. If the winner won by a small gap s/he is gonna need to start paying attention to what you think. On the other hand, if you voted for the winning candidate you want him to make sure that s/he’s confident enough to stick to his/her principals and not try to appeal to the opposition.
If you’re so confident that your candidate is going to win, not voting isn’t helping. Firstly, if everyone on your side thought like that, then your candidate isn’t going to enjoy the results. My family likes to tell me “Dak li ma jigriex f’mitt sena jigri f’seconda” (That which hasn’t happened in a hundred years will happen in a second). How many times have we heard that so and so isn’t gonna get elected then the day comes and whoops! - so and so got elected. Again, if I know my candidate is going to win I want to be sure of it.
All elections matter
I’d like to point out that what I’m saying doesn’t apply to the European Parliament election only, what I’m saying applies to any election you may vote in. Your vote is going to make a difference no matter if whom you support wins or loses. The best thing you, as a person, can do for democracy is to get informed and #GiveAVote in any election you can vote in.