Let's talk about Europe

Europe, it’s (too much a bit) sexy!

Poster made by the French pro-European association local section, Les Jeunes Européens Isère, to encourage young people to vote during the 25th of May European elections

Poster made by the French pro-European association local section, Les Jeunes Européens Isère, to encourage young people to vote during the 25th of May European elections

How to make the European elections interesting in France? Three weeks before the choice, people are not really passionate due to their difficulty to understand the main purposes. On their side, political parties seem to start very slowly as for instance the Union for a popular movement (UMP) which is still divided about the EU issue. We are attending a strange campaign in which hardly nothing is happening while in a couple of days, millions of voters have to make a very important choice for the future of Europe!

To give interest to a few mobilizing election, some people seem to be imaginative but if some initiatives are interesting, others perplexed.

Recently, a Jeunes Européens (a pro-European youth organisation) local section in Grenoble made a poster describing a lady lying in her bed hesitating between two young men and having to make a choice before making love. This metaphor of the European elections encourages young voters to take action and part to the ballot, thanks to the following motto: “Choisis qui tu veux dans ton parlement” (“Choose the person you want in your parliament”). Still to encourage people to vote in favour of Europe, the French Greens dealt condoms as goodies with the motto “Donner vie à l’Europe” (“Bringing life to Europe”), a strange message to convince people, to my mind.

I’ve to confess I’m wondering about these actions supposed to convince voters already angry against the European Union (more exactly, how they perceive it), with relevant or irrelevant reasons. At the time turnout becomes a central issue of the election and traditional parties have difficulties to put Europe forward, it is not certain talking about sex (explicitly or in an imaginative way) is enough and efficient to help people and invite them to go and vote. In 2009, I was wondering in my French blog about the real impact of such a method when the French section of the Youth European Parliament made an explicit poster to encourage young people to vote. Finally, only 1/3 of them went to vote.

Maybe, it is easier to choose simplicity and release more or less explicit messages to invite people to the reflexion and the debate, easier than explaining why the European Union is positive for French people. But in a context dominated by a very complex crisis, people expect from political parties concrete solutions especially in comparison with simplistic speeches coming from the populist right and the far right as the Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party campaign posters show and which does not hesitate to link between immigration and unemployment, to get a maximum of votes and cheat the British voter.

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European elections deserve a more or less strict debate due to the current context we experience and I do not think sending explicit messages will help people to vote, all the more so as it may give the opposite result if we refer on some comments in the social networks as Twitter or Facebook. Even if it is not easy to campaign and to make things simple, some essential things should not be forgotten as the message we want to spread.

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