In recent newsletters, we have run a piece on a member of the EMSP Young Peoples’ Network. This month we are getting political and talking about the upcoming European Parliament elections. For younger people with MS, this could be the first opportunity to vote in EU elections and we want to encourage these activists to use their franchise.

There is a great chance coming up this May to influence your community. From 23rd-26th May every EU citizen can vote for their national representatives in the EU Parliament. Now is the time to learn more about the candidates running for office in your country. European Elections website

EMSP member societies are highlighting issues that matter to people in their country. Access to rehabilitation, to medicines and treatment, healthcare without discrimination, to social care for people with disabilities, accessible public transport and financial support for MS carers are just some of the priority areas highlighted.

Why should people get involved?

Everyone has different values, rights and responsibilities. Learning about the elections, discovering the values of candidates and their parties and understanding their work gives you power. When you are aware of the EU processes and how it affects your life, you can participate and influence as an informed participant. Informed, active citizens make the leadership and government more relevant. .

It is these elected representatives from your country that will be involved in creating policies that affect your life and lives of millions of people in Europe. The people who are elected to the EU Parliament and the subsequent European Commission will be making decisions that will directly affect your life.

Health and Social Policy

The European Patients Forum recently released their Elections Manifesto 2019. Advocate in the coming months, speak out about the issues that matter to you and others with MS in Europe. Your activity is vital to highlighting the issues, solving the problems and making life better for people with MS in the EU.

“Patients see and feel the benefits from having a strong, co-ordinated European health policy and political leadership and support. Patients’ advocacy in the European elections is crucial to drive positive change” EPF Election Manifesto

The five areas in the manifesto are:

1) Accessing the healthcare we need without discrimination;

2) Empowerment;

3) Driving the development of digital health;

4) Being a partner in research;

5) Involved in better health policy.

Negative media vs. reality

Government works well when it works for the people. This includes your local community leaders, councils, state bodies and in May, the Members of European Parliament. There is much negativity about civic engagement, anti-EU sentiment but this is just discourse. The reality is that being engaged and empowered, people with MS can take the issues important to them and use their vote in May to disrupt and reframe the issues.