Bring your ideas and visions of Europe to the European Parliament!

IW – 05/2024

Dear readers,   

In a few days, we will vote on the future of Europe. Does this mark a turning point in the history of the EU or will Europe be more united than ever?

Europe at a crossroads - Why is this European election so important?

This European election has a special significance. You might be thinking that you hear that every time just before the European elections. It's true to a certain extent. Because each time the elections have been preceded by different crises: in 2009 it was the banking and financial crisis, in 2014 it was the refugee crisis and in 2019 it was Brexit. And each time, the EU had to show unity and hoped to send a signal with the European elections.

In recent years, however, the crises, upheavals and challenges have changed; they have not only increased but have also become much more serious. The COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of Brexit, a new wave of refugees, migration and, last but not least, the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East have presented the EU with a multitude of challenges in a short period of time. However, they have also challenged the EU in other ways and made it very clear that the security of Europe and therefore all of us – is at risk from. But that is not all. We are increasingly seeing states such as Hungary that have distanced themselves from the democratic consensus and are repeatedly questioning or blocking important European projects. These are just a few events that have led to a change in the current political situation and the many challenges that the EU is facing today. The list is actually much longer. But already these few examples clearly show us that the protection of the EU's common fundamental values and even its ability to act are more at risk than ever. Populist and anti-European forces are on the rise in the member states. This has gone so far that calls for stronger Trump-style nationalism are becoming louder and louder, calling into question the peace project of Europe and our fundamental values as never before in its more than 70 years of existence. And all this has changed Europe, it is no longer the way it used to be.

The situation is therefore much more serious today. It is therefore all the more important that we take the opportunity to bring our ideas and visions of Europe to the European Parliament by casting our vote on 9 June. In this way, we can also have a say in the political decision-making process in the EU. Of course, the future of Europe does not only depend on the composition of the European Parliament and the balance of power there. We must also expect that other states in the Council will take a different political course. Elections will be held in some member states this year and with each new government, the political forces shift.

Shaping Europe's future together

However, with the elections on 9 June, we Europeans have the unique opportunity to help shape our version of Europe. This is because the Parliament is the only EU institution that is directly elected by the citizens. Even if – unlike in the Bundestag elections – we cannot vote for individual MEPs, we can support the parties registered for election and their political concerns with our vote. The more votes a party receives, the more people it can send to the European Parliament. In this way, parliamentarians can actively influence European laws on our behalf, which affect us in various ways in our daily lives.

The powers of the European Parliament are now far more far-reaching than is often assumed – as a result of various reforms, it has gained increasing power in recent years and has become an almost equal counterweight to the Member States represented in the Council in the legislative process. Its participation rights now extend to the majority of policy areas, including budgetary policy, enlargement issues, agricultural policy, energy policy, immigration issues and health and social policy. However, the European Parliament also controls other EU bodies, such as the Commission, and elects its President. One special feature is that there are no fixed coalitions in the European Parliament. There is also not necessarily a line whip as we know it from the German Bundestag. The pressure to bow to the opinion of one's own parliamentary group when voting is therefore much less, and individual MPs have more freedom in this respect. Sharp changes in the balance of power can therefore also have an impact on future parliamentary work and make it more difficult to find political solutions. The composition of the parliament therefore plays a decisive role for the future of Europe and shows the importance of this election.

Because Europe is close to our hearts

It was therefore a matter close to our hearts to make an active contribution to a democratic, peaceful, diverse and tolerant Europe in which the achievements and common European values are preserved and respected.

In our daily work, we are able to live the idea of Europe and enjoy the benefits of the EU: We were born in different European member states, some of us have studied in other EU countries and now live and work in Brussels permanently or temporarily. These opportunities are achievements of the EU that we now take for granted. We are Europeans and therefore want to work to prevent the progress that has been built up over decades from being called into question in the wake of increasingly Eurosceptic rhetoric. That's why, as part of a very personal social media campaign (#SocialSecurityMatters) and our day-to-day work, we tinkered, baked and spoke in various formats and on various occasions about the achievements and shared fundamental values of the EU, repeatedly highlighting the importance of European social and health policy for us all. Our self-made UseYourVote frame, which has also travelled with us a few times, has been particularly useful. We networked and found new allies, worked closely with our members and partner organisations and learned a lot in the process. Our three top women in German social insurance from our DSV-Executive Board also supported us with important messages in the "3 questions to" series, in which we asked them about the importance of Europe for their policyholders, their wishes for the future and their motivation to vote. A real highlight of our European election campaign, which you can find in the current newsletter.

A big thank you and our wish for you

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, sharing, liking and commenting on our messages.


It is now up to each and every one of us to help shape the outcome of the European elections. Let us work together to defend our democratic values and stand united for a tolerant, diverse and a social Europe. Use your vote and go and vote on 9 June!

Best wishes

Ilka Wölfle