Where Should We Vote ? European Parliament Elections.

 

stamp european elections 2009

For me the essential is that everyone is aware of their rights to participate in the politics of your society. I want to make your rights to vote clear both for Danes living in Europe and non-Danish Europeans living in Denmark.

I often hear the argument that there is no such thing as Europe. No such thing as a European democracy. No such thing as a European debate. I want to prove this wrong. I want to make the European elections European. The politics of the place we call home is important for our lives and should be of interest to all of us.

As Europeans we have the rights to vote in local and European elections href=”http://www.europeancitizensabroad.eu/can-you-vote.html”>here the rules for your country of nationality).  We must embrace this and take responsibility for our new countries of residence and vote for the best people to speak for our interests. In Europe where mobility across national border is encouraged and we have been given this unique right as European citizens it is even more essential. For the European elections, then most of you have a choice, you can vote where you live or you can vote in the country of your nationality. You may not feel sufficiently informed about the politics of the place you live. Perhaps you do not speak the language. Perhaps you are only resident there for a short period and expect to return to your national country again shortly. Perhaps you want to ensure that the politics of your national country stays are worried that the politics of your home country will have. Also not every political environment that is very open and encouraging to participation for foreign residents. As I stand for the European elections my priority is that everyone feels that they have a place to vote and feel their voice is listened to. The right to vote in elections whether by nationality or by residence is not worth much if we do not feel listened to.

 

I understand both the ambition to get people to vote where they live, and the feeling of belonging to your country of nationality. This is in part based in my experience as a Danish diplomat having worked with many expat Danes and as a European having lived with many Europeans living outside of their country of nationality. Denmark has very strict rules on the right to vote once you have leave Denmark, but you retain the right vote in the Danish European Parliament elections even when you have taken up long term residence in another EU country. For the national elections you are only allowed to vote for 2 years after leaving the country and only if you have the intention to return. This is based on the requirement of residence in our constitution . There are certain exceptions, but for most Danes leaving Denmark these rules make them feel ostracized and denied their democratic rights. Unfortunately Danish authorities are not very good at making it clear that Danes living in the EU retain the right to vote in the Danish European Parliament election.

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Karen Melchior

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