A united Europe?

It is your duty to vote in this week’s European parliamentary elections, whether you support the EU in its present form or not, says Robin Pascoe.

On Thursday, millions of people in the Netherlands can go to the polls to elect the people who will represent them in Europe for the next few years.
Except, millions of people will not bother. The piece of cardboard which dropped through their letter box will go in the bin, they will turn off the tv when the European elections are mentioned and pretend that Brussels and all that Europe entails does not really exist.
The European parliament is not perfect… far from it.
Many MEPs are happy to abuse the system. Let us not forget, the German tv crew filming MEPs signing in for their daily attendance allowance before heading for the train home. A scandal which has not been properly addressed.
Let us not forget the pointless shuffle between Brussels and Strasbourg to appease some odd national pride. A total waste of money and one which should be stopped immediately. MEPs can just say no.
Let us not forget the fact that the EU’s auditors continue to refuse to sign off the EU accounts for 14 years in a row because of failings.
But we have to make do with what we have got. Europe is not going to go away, and if we ignore it, the abuses and the money wasting will never stop.
Most of the parties standing in the Netherlands are negative. The entire campaign here (with the exception of D66) has a veneer of Euroscepticism: the EU spends too much, Romania and Bulgaria should not be members, there is too much bureaucracy…
There is no shortage of potential MEPs willing to immerse themselves in the Brussels gravy train. Throughout Europe as a whole some 11,000 people are up for election.
But if we ignore the vote, we are playing into the hands of the people who see Europe as a goldmine.
We are agreeing with the MEPs who have voted to ban the press from the area where they sign in for their attendance allowance so they cannot be filmed ripping off the taxpayer. Of course, not all MEPs are in it for what they can get. There are hundreds of dedicated people out there, working towards the European dream.
But is only by voting that we can have any influence over what happens in Brussels, or Strasbourg.
And as for which party will get my red cross, I am still a floating voter.
Robin Pascoe is a founder of DutchNews.nl

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