Why Hunters Must Vote in the European Elections – #UseYourVote

The European elections, scheduled for 6-9 June, will be decisive for the future of hunting and conservation in Europe. Currently, eighty percent of the national rules and regulations affecting hunting and conservation today come from Brussels. What’s decided in Brussels also affects non-EU countries and frequently influences how the rest of the world tackles environmental policy issues.

European Elections 2024

The next European Parliament will have the opportunity to advance policies that benefit biodiversity and rural communities. These policies can include reversing biodiversity loss, addressing species declines, large carnivore management, and restoring habitats. Decisions in Brussels will also affect the bird species, which can be hunted and large carnivore management. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) may also be required to make decisions on what types of firearms and ammunition can be used in the future.

From 6-9 June, European citizens will elect 720 MEPs for the coming 5-year political term. This is an increase from today’s 705 MEPs. The population size of a Member State determines the number of MEPs. No Member State can have more than 96 members or fewer than 6. Currently, Germany has 96 MEPs, while Cyprus, Luxembourg, and Malta each have six members.

This election will extend its influence beyond the European Parliament. It will also affect the election of the President of the European Commission, as well as the hearings and evaluations of the EU Commissioners.

FACE recommends that European hunters go to the polls fully aware of what your elected politicians and political groups have done during their time in Brussels. What major decisions have been made which affect hunters? Who are the candidates in the upcoming election, and where do they stand on hunting and conservation issues? What decisions affecting hunting and conservation are expected from the next Parliament?

European Elections 2024

The Importance for Hunters to Engage and Vote
Despite the enormous influence that EU decisions have on our everyday lives, the interest and participation in EU elections are relatively low compared to national elections. The average voting turnout in the Union was around 50% in the last election (2019)— ranging from 88% in Belgium (where voting is mandatory) to a record-low 22% turnout in Slovakia. Low voter turnout means that citizens who do vote have a significant chance of shaping the future direction of EU policy.

Conversely, groups and interests that do not make their voices heard during the campaigns or do not show up at the polling stations risk having their lives dictated by opposing interests. In other words, the hunting community must engage in the coming elections in significant numbers.

As the saying goes, if you do not vote, you cannot complain afterwards!

To find out more information on how to vote in your country, visit this EU website.

Promote and share the FACE Election Manifesto with your national candidates and ask them to sign up to its principles, demonstrating their commitment to hunting and conservation in Europe, available here and translated in multiple languages.

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