Focus on EU 'added-value' to boost voter turnout
As Europeans get ready to vote next May, national politicians have a key role in encouraging them to take part in the elections and to better understand the real benefits of the European Union. Speaking to national parliamentarians in Romania on 10 February, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič urged them to take up the challenge to show citizens the real added-value benefits of the EU, and encourage them to vote to protect them.
VP Šefčovič underlined the freedoms that EU membership brings to its 500m citizens, including the freedom to work and travel freely between Member States. This was a right that was still denied to some Romanians, he added – but he welcomed Romania's efforts to address issues of trust that have prevented its accession to the Schengen border free zone.
He also encouraged the Romanian government to do its best to improve the country's capacity to spend EU funding – the country will receive nearly €23bn over the next seven years for a wide range of projects, but has struggled in the past to spend all its allocation, despite the need to invest in new infrastructure and other projects. EU funding, VP Šefčovič said, was another excellent example of the added-value of Europe, supporting projects that otherwise might not see the light of day.
VP Šefčovič's visit to Bucharest also included a meeting with President Traian Basescu and with the speaker of the House of Deputies, Valeriu Zgonea.