Thursday, 6 May 2010

UK elections: What's at stake for the citizens of the EU?

We, Europeans from other EU member states, may not care who wins the elections in the United Kingdom but we will be affected anyway.

Whether or not there will be significant policy changes - which can be the case if the Liberal Democrats will gain enough seats to be part of a coalition government and which will be the case if the Conservatives win an absolute majority - these elections determine how and by whom the UK is represented in the EU institutions.

You don't think it is important who represents the United Kingdom and which policy programme is advocated by these personalities in the EU Council and the European Council?

Well, then you don't think that the regulation of financial institutions is an issue that concerns you. You don't think that it is relevant whether the UK will push for reforms in the Common Agricultural Policies of the EU or not.

You don't think that it makes a difference whether a Labour government, a Conservative government or a coalition of one of the two other with the Liberal Democrats will determine the new EU internal security strategy or the shape of the EU's External Action Service, including the precise nature of its tasks (e.g. regarding military capacities).

All these are issues which are discussed right now in the different EU institutions, and the British government is an important part of these discussions. And all these policies have direct impact on the lives of all EU citizens.

In short, if you don't care for the election results in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, you don't think that the EU has any impact on your life.

Different to how some might want to frame the debate, the question of these elections is thus not so much about staying in the EU or leaving it. It is not the question: Will the Royal Union stay a Loyal Union to the European Union?

No, it's more profane: The UK elections partially determine the outcome of concrete future policies of the European Union. British citizens vote for the direction of their country today, but they also vote for a fraction of the direction the EU will take in the years to come.

So, EU citizens, take a look to the UK today and notice who will win - because this will affect your lives in the years to come!

Picture: © prasenberg / CC BY-NC 2.0


martinned said...

Actually, I don't think the Common Agricultural Policy is a very good example. As far as I know, all three major parties are firmly committed to downsizing it.

Julien Frisch said...

Yes, but it will depend on who leads the negotiations and what policy options they can offer in return to other member states on whether they will be able to get a compromise among EU member states that is close(r) to this (shared) policy with regard to the CAP.