For this European Parliament’s elections EFIL has been supporting the campaigns of the European Youth Forum (85 supporters elected) and of the Europeand Civil Society Platform for Lifelong Learning ( 13 supporters elected). EFIL also joined the League of Young Voters.

From 22-25 May, 43,9% of European citizens went to the polls to elect the 751 members of the European Parliament . The outcomes of elections show a very high level of abstention (up to 87% in some Member States) and rise of extreme-right wing parties. Young leaders (Renzi, Tsipras, Keller) showed good results. A slight victory of the European People Party ahead of the Socialists leave unclear the choice of the next Commission President and the 28 heads of state and government might not respect the democratic game of choosing a leader proposed by the European Parliament, and pick a surprise candidate.

EUCIS-LLL reaction to this outcome of elections is even a stronger belief that Europe should make a sustainable investment in public goods such as education, training and research for economic development, social and civic participation and well-being. Only by delivering better on all these aspects will Europe prevent so many citizens to turn their back from our ideal of integration and solidarity: 16 Member States decreased their level of expenditure in education between 2008 and 2011.

All EU political parties presenting a candidate to the European elections committed to invest in quality and accessible education. It is time for newly elected decision-makers to sustain this commitment and put lifelong learning in the front stage. European cooperation in education and training is indubitably one of the best levers to fight intolerance, fear of the other and identitarian closure and nationalism, for instance thanks to great community programmes such as Erasmus+.

Inclusive growth is definitely the forgotten pillar of the Europe 2020 strategy: the revision of EU2020 and ET2020 are coming up and this message from voters and non-voters should be taken into consideration: there is a need for a more social and inclusive Europe.

European democracy needs a genuine debate on the European political project with everyone on board. Citizenship education is a key for people to get ownership of what happens in Brussels, and it is not only the responsibility of decision-makers but also of the media. Civil society organisations have also a crucial role to play in that sense.

Ulrike Lunacek, AFS returnee from Austria, has been re-elected as Member of the European Parliament. Congratulations! Do you know any AFS returnees among the newly elected MEP?! Let us know! Have a look here at the provisional list of elected MEPs:

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EU elections