“How to get out the vote on New Europeans in the 2024 EU Elections”-Workshop REVIEW

Souad is one of the 23 young #DiasporaVote!’s ambassadors taking part to our EP elections campaign. She was born in Morocco and raised in Italy. An active European citizen and a passionate advocate for justice, gender and racial equity, is a final-year law student currently pursuing a Master’s in Leadership for International Relations and Made in Italy.With deep commitment, she aligns her passion with #DiasporaVote’s goals, advocating for equal representation and empowerment of marginalized communities in European politics.

Souad Youb

DV Ambassador, #DiasporaVote!

How to encourage Electoral participation among New Europeans in the 2024 European Parliament Elections?

DiasporaVote! is a dedicated organization that addresses the underrepresentation of racialized communities in European politics. Our ultimate objective is to motivate racialized individuals in Europe to take a genuine interest in EU policy development and elevate their voices on a broader scale. The challenge lies in the need for Europeans, and especially New Europeans, to actively raise their voices, participate in political life, and recognize the vital significance of their votes.

The workshop, “How to get out the vote on New Europeans in the 2024 EU Elections” centered around addressing this crucial issue.

The New European Initiative, presented by the director of Migration Policy Group Isabelle Chopin, focuses on empowering these individuals and promoting their involvement at all levels, including the European Parliament elections.

Studies have indicated that New Europeans participate less frequently in elections compared to other citizens. The policy brief by Sinamil Maz, an Integration Policy Analyst at MPG, highlighted that only around 10% of mobile EU citizens registered to vote in the last European Parliament elections in their host member states, with similar trends among naturalized migrants and third-country nationals eligible for local elections.

Understanding the factors influencing voting behavior is crucial. Sociological factors, migration experiences, language barriers, limited access to election information, administrative and voting procedures and first-time voting in a new country contribute to the complexity of decision-making. The key recommendation given during the workshop was to implement simplified voter registration

and procedures, harmonizing voting procedures across the EU and promoting online and automatic registration for European elections are essential steps toward enhancing participation. Furthermore, representation and diversity in political entities play a critical role. Ensuring that political parties reflect the population’s diversity, especially migrants, is important. Multilingual outreach for election communications, civic education programs, and research support are also essential for tailoring policies and measures to improve voter’s engagement.

Melis Ari Gurhanli, a migrant rights advocate in Finland, shared insights for increasing electoral participation among New Europeans in the 2024 European Parliament elections by presenting the experience of the last elections in witch they fostered a sense of community by organizing joint voting events and provided support for first-time voters. Discussions with the Ministry of Justice, sending welcome letters to new citizens, also played a pivotal role in raising awareness about voting rights, ultimately boosting electoral participation.

Yonous Muhammadi, Director of the Greek Forum of Refugees, discussed encouraging electoral participation of New Europeans and offered recommendations based on their experiences in Greece. While there has been progress in approaching political parties to include migrant candidates in elections, it often remains tokenistic, lacking meaningful support. Challenges include documentation barriers for those with the right to vote and the absence of a comprehensive integration policy.

These issues highlight the need for a more inclusive and supportive electoral process.

Asif Khan, a project advisor at GRN Europe and founder of the Centre for Capacity Building and Empowerment in Sweden stated that confidence-building measures are crucial to integrate the new Europeans into society and foster trust in local parties. Migrants often lack information about European Union voting. He also pointed out the importance of representation and advocacy efforts and highlighted that migrants often feel more confident voting for candidates from their own communities, making representation crucial.

Trust and a sense of belonging emerged as central themes in the discussion.

Also Thomas Huddleston, a scientific collaborator at the University of Liège, shared insights on encouraging electoral participation among new Europeans. He suggested that voter registration should be automatic for new citizens and that official multilingual information should be readily available. He also stressed the need for community engagement, offering voter registration trainings, and providing the necessary funds to support these initiatives.

Ojeaku Nwabuzo, co-director of the European Network Against Racism ENAR, focused on increasing the diversity of candidate lists and ensuring that political parties are committed to promoting diversity.

She also addressed the importance of online safety and the need to combat hate speech and disinformation on social media platforms.

In the second part of the workshop, the European Parliament’s Together EU initiative was presented by Jaro Novak. This initiative aims to support civil society in the run-up to the 2024 European elections. It emphasizes the significance of democracy and the importance of encouraging voter turnout. The European Parliament actively seeks collaboration with civil society organizations to promote the act of voting and educate citizens about the real-world impact of their votes.

#DiasporaVote! plays a vital role in addressing the challenges highlighted during the workshop. As we move closer to the upcoming European elections, our organization remains committed to ensuring that the voices and concerns of marginalized communities are heard and acted upon in the EU’s decision-making processes. Together with our partners and supporters, we strive to make a meaningful impact in fostering greater participation in the democratic process.

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