“Wondering how to vote in European elections in May?” ask Churches

Churches are urging people to vote in the upcoming EuropeanParliament elections in May. 

The Methodist Church in Britain, the Baptist Union of GreatBritain and the United Reformed Church have produced a document outlining important issues for the election with theaim of boosting turnout and encouraging people to reflect on theirvote. Only a third of voters participated in the 2009 Europeanelections, compared to two thirds who voted in the 2010 GeneralElection. 

The Churches' briefing illustrates how the European Parliamentaffects all our lives. "European laws affect things such as energysecurity, immigration and justice," the document states. "MEPs havean important job to do in shaping the laws of the society we livein and it is important to remember that these elections are forpeople to represent us in the European Parliament and not anopinion poll on the EU, or a warm up for the next GeneralElection."

EU and human rights, migration, climate change, proportionalrepresentation, tax justice, the financial crisis and whetherBritain should remain in the EU are some of the issues discussed inthe briefing document. The guide also gives advice on how toorganise a hustings' event and explains how the European Parliamentand European Union work.

Andrew Bradstock, Secretary for Church and Society with theUnited Reformed Church, said: "This document sets out clearly whythis election is important, and I urge churches and church members,as strongly as I can, to read it and then go out and vote. Aspeople called to be good citizens, Christians should treat allopportunities to vote seriously, and there are hugely importantissues at stake this time. We can hardly complain if people andparties we don't like get elected and we didn't vote."

James North, Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church in Britain,said: "Living in a democracy as disciples of Jesus, we are calledto discern whether there are policies that better accord with thelove that God wishes us to share in our communities, and to decidehow to vote on that basis. Naturally, this briefing does notsupport a particular party programme. Whilst no political programmecan be equated with the coming kingdom of God, Christians arecalled to engage with the political process and parties' manifestosto seek justice, transformation and love of our neighbour."