The 2014 European elections
The European Parliament elections from 22-25 May 2014 will be different. For the first time, most of the main European Political Parties organise campaigns that will go across borders, several of them with common European candidates for the Presidency of the European Commission and other top EU jobs.
There are a common date and some common principles for the elections, but there are no common rules for what is allowed during the campaign and what isn’t. In fact, there are 29 different sets of rules for the political parties defining how to campaign and how to finance their activities – 28 rules for national parties plus the ones for EU parties
It will thus be very interesting to watch how European campaigns are organised in practice in this new and legally quite confusing set-up, and we think that there could be a lot to see – for example the cross EU campaign trail of the leading candidates that we are watching!
Our Integrity Roundtrip (24 March-5 April)
Before the main phase of the election campaign started, two of us – Helena and Ronny – have gone on a roundtrip by train to discuss with young people around Europe how we can do more than just vote!
This roundtrip has brought us to Ljubljana, Bratislava, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Zagreb and Milan for workshops, meetings, discussions with young people in all of those cities – you can look back at our travels on our Tumblr:
Send an email to EP2014watch@transparency.org if you want to share photos or other interesting observations. You can also call us at +32 2 23 58 640.
You can find EP2014Watch is also:
How can you contribute to #EP2014Watch?
Watching a Europe-wide campaign will only work if we as citizens and civil society work together. We would like to make this first European campaign an open and transparent campaign – and you can be part of this!
You can go to events organised by the leading European candidates or their parties and take pictures, videos or write to us what you saw: Was the event sponsored? How many people were there? Who spoke? What kind of campaign materials were available?
Take pictures, videos or screenshots of electoral advertisements using the logos of EU parties or their candidates on TV, Youtube, news websites, in your local newspaper or on billboards around the corner of your house and share them with us!
You can contribute by sharing your impressions from the European election campaign using the (hash)tag “EP2014Watch” whenever you publish your observations on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. or you can send us an email with the material so that we can share it through our channels. Don’t forget to tell when and where you took a picture or a video – the more details we get, the better!
Why are we watching the EU 2014 elections?
Our own European-wide research and the international evaluations of political financing rules and practices across Europe have shown a number of shortcomings in the way political funding and campaign is regulated and supervised. In a Europe-wide campaign, all strengths and shortcomings will come together at once, and we want to watch whether any of the existing loopholes will be used by some European parties or candidates.
But watching this campaign is not so much about showing what is going wrong:
We want to help building a public record of European campaign activities, create a public timeline of the travels of the main European candidates, show the diversity of European campaign material and the differences of campaign ads in traditional and in new media. All this will increase the transparency of the European election campaign, show how the different political parties are acting across the EU and help to create a debate about how European campaigns should be organised and regulated in the future.