Civil rights campaigner Roger Casale elected Vice-President of European Civic Forum

The founder of New Europeans, the former Labour MP Roger Casale has been elected a Vice-President of the European Civic Forum, a network of over 100 associations and NGOs across Europe working to defend civil liberties and access to human rights for all.

Speaking following the EESC Civil Society Days in Brussels, Roger Casale said:“The ECF does amazing work and I am honoured and excited to have the opportunity to support the work of the Forum alongside my work for New Europeans. My role will be focused on strengthening relationships with the European Parliament.”

The appointment comes days after a leaked copy of the  European Council’s draft strategic document for 2019-24 sparked controversy when it failed to prioritise the fight against climate change.
 
The document says little about the role of citizens and civil society as key actors in building a fairer, more democratic Europe with a stronger emphasis on social justice.

“New Europeans spent time looking closely at the document and discussing it with colleagues during the European Civil  Society Days in Brussels on 12 and 13 June”, said Roger Casale

“My personal view is that there is too little recognition in the document of how much Europe needs to change in order to retain the support of its citizens.

“New Europeans believes there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way the EU operates in order to bring the whole European project must closer to the citizen.
 
"Above all, that means listening to citizens, recognising that politicians do not have all the answers, and valuing the contribution citizens and civil society bring to the European project.

"We need to do more to put the citizen front and centre of the next stage of the next stage of development of the European project.

I" suspect the draft strategic document was prepared before the election. But it would be a mistake to see the outcome of the election as an endorsement of the status quo.

"The immediate danger of a nationalist take-over of the European Parliament has passed, but there remains a high risk that a populist upsurge can destabilise the European project again.”
Brexit teaches us that we need to be ever vigilant and should never take the support of citizens for granted.”

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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