EU Elections: What’s At Stake for Europe’s Future?

EU Elections 2024

EU Elections 2024

As Europeans get ready to vote for a new European Parliament from June 6-9, some big issues are on voters’ minds. These issues will shape Europe’s path in the coming years. Europe’s path on climate, defense, migration and the cost of living hangs in the balance as voters get their say on these critical issues shaping the future. The choices made will deeply impact the lives of all Europeans for years to come. Let’s look at what’s at stake.

The Cost of Living Crisis

One of the biggest worries for many Europeans is the rising cost of living. Prices for everyday things like energy, food and housing have gone up a lot recently. A poll showed two out of three Europeans think tackling these high costs must be a top priority for the EU.  

Energy prices have jumped by 40% in just the last year! One out of every three people in Europe say they wouldn’t be able to pay an unexpected bill right now. People are really feeling the squeeze on their wallets and budgets.

So when the EU makes policies on energy, climate change and other areas, they’ll need to carefully consider how it impacts people’s ability to make ends meet. Voters want action, but not at the expense of being able to afford basic necessities.

The Migration Dilemma 

Migration has been a hugely divisive issue in Europe for the past decade, ever since the tragic Lampedusa boat disaster in 2013 killed hundreds of migrants at sea. But now, finally, the EU has a new Migration Pact laying out rules.

It took many years of disagreements to get this starting point. The pact isn’t perfect – those on the left think it’s too harsh, those on the right think it’s too soft. But it’s something to build from.

The next European Parliament will spend lots of time on this, working out how to actually put the pact’s rules into practice in each country. Europe needs managed migration policies, because its population is aging rapidly. And as Europe showed in welcoming millions of Ukrainians, it can handle influxes of asylum seekers in need of protection when it wants to.

Boosting Europe’s Defense

With Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, issues of defense and security will be front and center for the new European Parliament and leadership. This war looks set to grind on for the foreseeable future, with Ukraine recently losing ground.

For the first time in decades, there is a major war on the European continent itself. And there’s worry other conflicts could erupt in the years ahead too. So the EU is acknowledging it can’t just rely on the U.S. for defense anymore – Europe itself needs to build up its own military strength and security.

Can the Green Agenda Survive?

The EU’s huge Green Deal program aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a dizzying 55% by 2030 – just seven years from now. Achieving this during the next parliamentary term will be an immense challenge. And it will only get harder if new, higher climate targets get adopted too.

However, the Green Deal faces a threat from rising anti-environment movements and parties on the far-right who want to put such plans on hold to support farmers and industry instead. So the big question is – will the green momentum continue after these elections, or will it lose steam?

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