News > 9th Brussels Wednesday Social with Jo Leinen MEP

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Bridging EU decision making, Participative democracy and civil dialogue

9th Brussels Wednesday Social with Jo Leinen MEP

On 11 April 2018, METRO AG, the European Movement International and EuroCommerce held another Brussels Wednesday Social, this time featuring Jo Leinen MEP, EP Rapporteur on European Electoral Reform.

With an eye towards the European elections in 2019, this series of events launched in March 2017 aims to foster debate on an innovative and sustainable vision for the EU, while involving stakeholders from civil society, political institutions and the business community. Featuring a different speaker each time, the events aim to explore how European democracy can become more inclusive, participatory and truly European.

You can see the summary of the evening here:

For this 9th Brussels Wednesday Social, taking place across from the European Parliament at the Solvay Library,¬†Mr Leinen outlined the Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs’ proposals to improve the current European electoral system, and discussed with the audience different ideas to enhance European democracy.

During his opening remarks, Jo Leinen emphasised how the European idea is currently under a lot of pressure from the outside as well as from the inside. While populism and nationalism threaten to undermine the unity of the EU and in the face of the loss of a Member State, the European elections can present a momentum for change and to strengthen European democracy. It has become clear that Europe cannot be left as project of the elite, but one that puts citizens at its centre; a vision which will be reflected in next week’s debate in Parliament with Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic.

During his speech, Mr Leinen made clear that it was high time for the European elections, often treated as second rank political events next to national elections, to become more transparent and more visible among voters. And while European elections are still mostly governed by national rules and dominated by national campaigns, the European dimension could be strengthened through measures such as the Spitzenkandidaten-process and the creation of EU-wide, transnational lists.

The European Parliament put forward a proposal to reform the European electoral law back in November 2015. In Feburary 2018, MEPs voted on the proposal for a modernised electoral law Parliament’s, which is now being considered by the Council. The provisions will also have to be approved by all EU countries.

Speaking in a wider sense on the future of Europe, Mr Leinen added that it was important for the EU to show its added value to citizens, while the bloc would need to put emphasis on protecting citizens’ rights in a changing world dominated by globalisation. Responding to participants’ questions, he underlined, however, that it was not the common market that kept Europe together, but its core values.

Concluding Mr Leinen’s remarks, Maria Heider, EU Affairs Director at METRO AG, added that businesses must take a clear stand to enhance democracy, which a precondition for a healthy society and economy.

You can find out more about the event and see the photos of the evening here.

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