– and for candidates willing to engage with it
That was the message of the Indy's leader today. It goes on:
It is possible that a large proportion of voters will mark their ballot paper tomorrow – in both the European and council elections – to reflect their feelings not about issues that MEPs and local councillors can address, but about the performance of the national parties since 2010. Given the volume of national political bickering in this country, and the relatively muted EU and local campaigning, this is perhaps understandable. But these are crucial elections in their own right.
Yet some of the largest and most complex contemporary problems require trans-national political responses – and the European Parliament has great influence on the European Commission, the civil service body which puts together EU law. Following the Lisbon Treaty of 2009, the head of the Commission will need to be vouched for by the Parliament, where previously the decision was solely down to national governments who make up the European Council.
In their plenary sessions, MEPs will also have a say on cross-border issues from finance to terrorism to migration policy. Some 90 per cent of what the EU does must run through Strasbourg. On climate change, for example, the UK’s 73 MEPs will influence the level at which future EU emissions targets are set. Quite simply the Parliament is more powerful than most national legislatures. A vote for a candidate who promises properly to engage with it is a vote that recognises the inter-connected nature of progressive European society.