Open Letter to the Candidates for the European Parliament, by Barbara Hendricks

Barbara Hendricks is an American born Swedish citizen a professional classical singer and human rights activist.

Dear European Parliament Candidate,

We – members of the independent European Cultural Parliament and other European people of the Arts – wish you success in your election campaign, but we will only campaign and vote for those candidates that offer a serious platform concerning the urgent challenges that face us.
  1. A European Parliamentarian has the potential to be a leading advocate for Democracy in the world. The peaceful European project could become a model for the rest of the world if MEP.s take their true democratic responsibility.
  1. The many global challenges: the economic crisis, the food shortages in many parts of the developing world and the environmental threat to the planet provide us with a unique window of opportunity to lay a new foundation for real democratic participation towards a better and fairer world.
  1. For the first time in 30 years, ordinary citizens look to politicians rather than to the big corporations for solutions to these pressing problems. A new President in Washington has created a new atmosphere of participation among people in the USA. The challenge is for European politicians to create a similar atmosphere in Europe.

Therefore we demand that all parties indicate in their platforms their convictions concerning the following subjects:

ACCOUNTABILITY

European citizens have the right to expect from their elected officials that they are accountable for their decisions and that they provide full transparency. We expect them to accept that it is their duty to represent the concerns of Europe as a whole as opposed to their national or local self-interests.

EDUCATION – FREE AND FAIR MEDIA

European politicians must give absolute priority to education, training, culture and media. Only in this way can the ongoing impoverishment of education and the deterioration of media quality be broken. Only well-informed and broadly educated citizens can be proper participants in a living democracy. A real democracy relies on an active and well-informed civil society and well-informed citizens.

THE DYSFUNCTION OF OUR FINANCAL SYSTEM

It is accepted wisdom that we can no longer do business as usual. The global financial system needs a genuine review and a real overhaul, not superficial cosmetic changes. The system must be transparent so as to restore confidence. Politicians in the European Parliament have to engage in this process.

ENERGY AND CONSERVATION

European Energy Policy must be coordinated in order to protect citizens from unfair prices, critical energy shortages and dangerous dependence on monopolistic energy suppliers.

IMPENDING ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER

Europe has a special responsibility in protecting the environment, finding and implementing sustainable solutions, reducing waste in consumption and life-style and contributing concretely to a positive turn in the ongoing global climate change process.

FOOD SHORTAGE and DEVELOPMENT

European politicians must negotiate a new Common Agricultural Policy for Europe with a view to creating reliable and sustainable production without dumping surplus on the markets of developing countries. They must contribute to the stabilisation of the world market for food products and contribute actively, through development assistance, to the food security of the poorest.

IMMIGRATION AND INTEGRATION

European politicians should work for the smooth integration of immigrants in European societies, for a humane immigration policy and for the improvement of living conditions outside Europe, including health-oriented family planning projects, thereby reducing the migration pressure on the European Union

CORRUPTION AND CRIME

Corruption is one of the greatest threats to our civilisation today and European politicians should strengthen the fight against all kinds of corruption and crime, particularly the trafficking of human beings.

ELIMINATION OF ALL KINDS OF DISCRIMINATION

The European Convention on Human Rights protects all persons within Europe’s borders without distinction as to gender, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status. European politicians should give priority to the defence of the convention.

ELECTION OF EUROPEAN PRESIDENT

The President of the European Union must be designated with the full respect for the principles of transparency and democracy, not forgetting that half of the Union’s population are women. This process must involve the citizens represented by the elected parliament but should in no way be a flagrant co-option of the power and the wishes of the people (by a non-democratic ”old boys network”).

CONFLICTS AND JUSTICE

The European Union, having created a zone of peace for the first time in history, should take a leading role in promoting peaceful solutions to conflicts worldwide and must give its full support to the ICC to bring to justice war criminals wherever they may be. 64 years of European cooperation, respect and peaceful coexistence could serve as a model for the rest of the world.

Barbara Hendricks-Sweden, Karl-Erik Norrman-Sweden, Pär Stenbäck, Finland + some 30 other Europeans
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