EU Parliament asks voters to choose their future

Written by Martin Banks on 25 April 2019 in News
News

The European Parliament has launched a campaign video as part of a huge awareness-raising drive to boost participation in the upcoming 23-26 May poll.

Video credit: European Parliament


The European Parliament has stepped up its high profile campaign to encourage voters to turn out in May’s European elections.

With an EU-wide average of just over 42 per cent, turnout at the last European Parliament elections, was the lowest ever. The European Parliament has mounted a huge awareness-raising drive to boost participation in the upcoming 23-26 May poll.

With just weeks to go before the keenly-awaited elections, parliament has launched a film - "Choose Your Future" - to encourage people to vote. The short film is, according to a parliament spokesman, “a nudge” to take part in the elections and to “think about future generations.”

But it has been heavily criticised on social media by some for what one post called its “left-leaning bias”. Others said that the inclusion of an African woman in the video was an “affront to Europeans.”

The former UK Liberal MEP Andrew Duff, now president of the Spinelli Group and a visiting fellow at the European Policy Centre, was also critical, telling this website, “It’s a bit creepy and it is too long.”


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UK Socialist MEP Claude Moraes said, “I think it’s important to boost turnout at  the elections and find an emotional way to connect. However, I don’t think these kinds of You Tubes in the end do that most of the time. If they can then I’m supportive. You have to appreciate the work of the director here. Although it won’t be to everyone’s liking the idea is to stimulate interest.”

However, the former UK Europe Minister Denis MacShane told The Parliament Magazine, “Any public information initiative that encourages people to vote strengthens democracy.”

SNP MEP Alyn Smith told this website, “The European elections are crucial, not just because of Brexit but because Brexit is a symptom of a wider problem, the rise of populism and dishonest men (they almost always are men!) with easy answers. I’m proud that my party is taking a strongly pro-EU message to the people of Scotland, and wish colleagues well across our wider continent.” 

The film is directed by award-winning Frédéric Planchon and, says parliament, “documents the intense, beautiful and fragile moments when newborn children come into this world.”

The 53-year-old, Lyon-born director has worked on 15 feature films and won awards at Cannes.

“Any public information initiative that encourages people to vote strengthens democracy” former UK Europe Minister Denis MacShane

All the women appearing in the film are pregnant or have just given birth between February and March 2019. Some are actors while others are not and it shows the actual birth of children who “will inherit the decisions made in May 2019.”

In total, 15 future parents were filmed on location in Greece, Denmark, Czechia and Hungary. The message is that new-borns will “ultimately have to live with the consequences of this vote.”

It is narrated by a young girl who appeals to the voters’ “sense of responsibility”, with the comments, “Each of us can leave a mark, but together we can make a real difference. Choose the Europe you want me to grow up in”. 

The Europe-wide elections, it notes, “will determine the future shape and direction of the European Union.”

The three minute film is, according to parliament, “the centrepiece of the 2019 European elections awareness-raising campaign.”

A parliament spokesman said, “The aim of the film is to make us reflect on why we vote. The more people vote, the stronger and more legitimate a democracy becomes. The goal is to make Europeans aware of shared values, emotions and responsibilities. To deal with global challenges, Europeans need to stand together and choose their - and their children’s and grand-children’s - future, by casting their vote in the upcoming elections.”

“The aim of the film is to make us reflect on why we vote. The more people vote, the stronger and more legitimate a democracy becomes" a European parliament spokesperson

The video has been uploaded to the European Parliament’s YouTube channel and will be subtitled in all official EU languages, some regional languages, different national versions of the same language (32 in total) and five worldwide major languages; Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi and Turkish.

The film will be released online in all member states from Thursday and different versions for TV, cinema and radio will also be distributed later. 

A parliament spokesman said, ”The theme of togetherness is in line with the results of a recent survey commissioned by Parliament where 80 per cent of citizens agree that what unites Europeans is more important than what separates them.

“The ongoing Brexit negotiations have demonstrated the uncertainties of separation and the risks of leaving the protection of the EU. When asked about the feelings that first come to mind when thinking about the EU, most Europeans feel hope or confidence (55 per cent in total) - while the uncertainty regarding Europe’s future triggers doubt as the predominant feeling amongst one third of European citizens surveyed.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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