European Parliament elections 2014: Vote for Fair Trade!
The next European Parliament elections are coming up and the people of the European Union (EU) will be electing their new representatives in May 2014. This is a great opportunity for the Fair Trade movement to approach the candidates and promote Fair Trade and Trade Justice.
The Fair Trade Advocacy Office, together with Fairtrade International, the World Fair Trade Organization – Europe, and other partners– 22 in total – have launched a major advocacy campaign called Vote4FT. Its aim is to create a dialogue between the EU policy-makers, the EU citizens and the Fair Trade movement on the importance of EU policies for the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South and the relevance of Fair Trade and Fair Trade principles.
The campaign will run for three years. 2013 is mostly dedicated to raise awareness about Fair Trade. Video testimonials of Fair Trade producers are available on the Internet for EU citizens. Fair Trade organisations will also get together to exchange practices and attend capacity-building events in order to improve their political advocacy abilities. One of these events already took place in Brussels.
Next to this, the coalition will prepare a Fair Trade Manifesto. This document will include the major demands of the Fair Trade movement at the European level, and candidates to the new European Parliament will be asked to endorse this Manifesto.
2014 will focus on the advocacy activities before the elections. Representatives of the Fair Trade Movement will meet candidates from several countries. For this reason, the European dimension of the campaign is important: local Fair Trade partners will meet with their national candidates to the European Parliament. Candidates for the European Parliament as well as current Members (MEPs) running for reelection will be approached in Brussels to express their support for Fair Trade on video.
During the last phase of the campaign (second half of 2013 and 2014), after the elections have taken place, the Fair Trade actors will get back to the newly elected MEPs having expressed their support and endorsed the manifesto to ensure their cooperation with the Fair Trade movement on key issues related to Fair Trade and Trade Justice.