“It is an important moment for the EU. The elections for the European Parliament from 22-25 May could prove a watershed for the future of the EU. In many member states we see populist, racist parties spreading hate, blaming minorities for whatever goes wrong, dividing societies. It is what we strongly oppose and that is why we have this campaign. Our slogan is ‘Your Vote Can Divide, Your Vote Can Unite, You Choose’. And that is what we ask citizens: use your vote, use it against racism in the European Parliament: says one of the initiators of the anti-racism campaign ‘Your Vote Can Unite’, Ralph du Long from UNITED.
The European Parliament elections come in the middle of a crisis that struck Europe hard. Everywhere people have lost their jobs, lost their income, and lost hope. These are circumstances some political parties and movements are trying to take advantage of. Now populists are manipulating peoples’ fears to build support for their dividing policies. Inciting hate against minorities is a classic strategy to gain visibility and win votes, especially in times of economic crisis. Migrants are the easiest targets.
The initiators of the campaign ask citizens to use their vote and to choose non-racist candidates. “Many people in the EU do not want parties that spread racism and poison society but they don’t use their voting rights. At the same time racist parties activate their voters. That is a bad development. So we ask people to go the ballot box and to vote, to show they care- argues Ralph du Long.
‘We want to reach voters in a direct way. In Hungary for example, campaigners from the organisation “Subjective Values” go to small villages and ask Roma people to use their voting rights. In Greece campaigners from the young migrants organisation “Generation 2.0” go to friends, family and others and explain why they need to vote. In France “Les Indivisibles” produce a special newspaper and video which are spread in a suburb of Paris. In Italy campaigners from “Centro d’Iniziativa per l’Europa del Piemonte” reach out to young people and discuss the importance of the European Parliament elections. There are more actions in other countries as well.’
‘People need to realize that there is a choice to be made. That is why you see on our poster: You Choose! It is really what these elections are about: making a choice.’