The elections from 23-26 May have been widely described as the most important since the first direct elections back in 1979.
Some expect a big influx of new members from so-called populist and nationalist political parties.
Bullmann, a German MEP, agrees with the importance of the EU-wide elections, saying, “They will not only draw the line between pro-European forces and the ones that aim at destroying Europe, but also between those who want to go on with business as usual and those who want to change Europe fundamentally.”
He said, “This is our political and moral battlefield in the face of huge challenges.”
Pointing to some of the issues, including climate change, that are expected to be at the forefront of the election campaign, he said, “The earth demands urgent action. The way we produce and consume depletes our fish stocks, pollutes our air, destroys our soil and damages our health.”
He added, “At the same time, we see growing inequalities, poverty and high unemployment rates in many parts of Europe.”
With the Socialists widely forecast to again be the second biggest group in Parliament after the election, Bullmann said, “Going on with business as usual is not an option for us. This has been the programme of the Conservatives, which dominated the European institutions in the past years, fuelling support for Eurosceptic, nationalist and populist forces.”
“These [populist] forces thrive on the dissatisfaction of people by spreading lies and hatred against minorities, while offering no solutions to the challenges of our times” Udo Bullmann MEP
“These forces thrive on the dissatisfaction of people by spreading lies and hatred against minorities, while offering no solutions to the challenges of our times. The most powerful instrument to defeat them is putting the well-being of citizens first,” he added.
According to Eurobarometer predictions, Bullmann’s group will win 142 seats in the next Parliament, compared with the EPP’s 188 seats.
In a clarion call to his core base, he declared, “We need to set Europe on a radically new course, with the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the centre.”
“We have to fight climate change and social inequalities at the same time. We cannot ask people to shoulder the costs of the ecological transition while the rich get richer and big companies pay almost zero taxes.”
Bullmann said that “greening” Europe’s economic model “has to go hand in hand” with good jobs, social housing, decent wages, child support and fair taxation.
“This has to become the European Union’s new mission.”
“We will put our programme for a more sustainable and just Europe on the table and strike an alliance with all those who believe that social, ecological and economic sustainability must be the core of EU action in the next five years. To us, this is the only way forward.”