Euro vote important for democracy, say Jesuits

In June, Europeans elect the members of the next European Parliament. The European Union seems to many a bureaucratic entity far removed from Europe's citizens. But a careful vote in the elections is one way of strengthening the democratic accountability of the EU.

OCIPE - the Jesuit European Office in Brussels - has chosen to focus on certain themes which illustrate its approach to the kind of choices currently facing the European Union, in its internal life and in its relationship with the wider world. The isues are: European Solidarity, Migration and Europe, Energy in Europe and EU Politics and development. These themes are developed in an Election Memorandum which can be downloaded from their web site: www.ocipe.info.

The British Director of OCIPE, Fr Frank Turner SJ, says the elections of June 4 provide a challenge for voters. 'It is important to vote, and to consider our vote carefully', he says. 'Yet elections take place only occasionally and are not, of themselves, the full expression of democracy. We are also well aware that certain proposals we make in this Memorandum may not command general public assent or be immediately achievable: we propose directions, not instant remedies. From this perspective we add to our four policy commentaries a reflection about the nature of democracy itself as an expression of human dignity and human community. We can be selective since we also point our readers to three other election statements, which we willingly commend.' Those documents have been issued by the ecumenical Conference of European Churches, based in Brussels, the network of Europe-based Catholic religious orders working in Africa, the Africa-Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN), and the international Catholic lay movement, Christian Initiative for Europe (IXE).

Source: Jesuit Communications