• EDSA Magazine

European Elections 2019

By Daniela Timuş, EDSA Research Officer, Romania

The next elections of the European Parliament are expected to be held between 23 and 26 May 2019. A total of 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) currently represent more than 512 million people from 28 member states. In February 2018, the European Parliament voted to decrease the number of MEPs from 751 to 705 provided that the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union on the current schedule.

To help you get your head around before this spring’s European elections, we’ve put together this handy explainer, adding a commentary towards the voting importance, from the healthcare point of view, with an emphasis on the dental profession.

What is happening?

Voters across the European Union (EU) will go to the polls to select the 705 MEPs to serve in the European Parliament for the next five years.

When is it happening?

European elections are a mixture of different electoral systems, with a distinctly disjointed approach. Therefore, most of the voters will go to the polls on Sunday, May 26; others, on the 23rd, 24th or 25th.

How are MEPs elected?

There are different voting systems across the EU. But all are mostly related to proportional representation, which is where parties gain seats in relation to the number of votes they get. Some countries have closed lists, other more open lists and there is also the single transferable vote.

What do MEPs do?

MEPs are elected to represent regions in some member states countries, like Italy, while in others, such as Germany, they have the whole country as their constituency. The number of MEPs for each country is proportional to EU Member States population.

MEPs pass EU laws and approve its budget, along with the European Council, which represents the heads of state of each country. MEPs also help nominate the President of the European Commission, and subsequently the EU’s administration.

What are the greatest challenges of the next term?

While several challenges related to environment, security, migration, economy, and the future of the EU are debates known for years since the EU founding, the spotlight of the next term will be on democracy representation and the establishment of a genuine health care system across the Union by 2024.

When it comes to health in the EU, power and responsibility chiefly lies within national governments. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t areas where Brussels can make a difference. The EU’s health policymakers rank health care as one of the core priorities to address at the horizon 2024. With the 2019 European Parliament elections looming large, EU citizens will have a chance to voice their expectations to set into motion a genuine EU health strategy.

Why Vote

Politicians want to get elected, and so target their policies towards the groups who are most likely to turn up to vote. Whichever party you vote for, the more young people that go out to vote, the more policies will be implemented that benefit young people.

We call for the European Parliament to prioritise the:

Improvement of the access to oral care, of the quality of care provided, and of the financial and material resources devoted to health

  • Reduction of inequities across or within Member States

  • Integration of oral health into broader healthcare agendas and public programmes, with appropriate provision of oral health care resources

  • Recognition of oral health as an integral part of general health and wellbeing

  • Contribution to the establishment of a community system for health surveillance by developing community health indicators within a system of critical review of existing data and indicators

  • Definition of the necessary methods and instruments for analysis of activities and the production of reports on health status, trends, and policies’ impact on oral health

  • Development of effective preventive services as the mainstay of a sustainable oral healthcare system

  • Raise the awareness of the social, economic, and political conditions that play an important role in the global oral healthcare community

  • Bridge the gap between clinical medicine and population health, integrating oral health in general health promotion and focusing on common risk factors

  • Provision of high standards of dental education, by implementing the provisions on basic training of the Professional Qualifications Directive and updating its annex to have a required set of competencies for every graduating dentist

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