Wethen, May 2 2024

Who do you vote for on June 6-9? To help you make a decision Church and Peace, along with several other peace organizations have developed key questions for the elections of the European Parliament. We also want to draw attention to issues that are barely recognised in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, even though they are of fundamental importance for further European and global development.

In the run-up to the European Parliament elections on June 6-9, several peace associations and organisations are calling on people to vote for candidates who are committed to a Europe based on peace and solidarity. To this end, they have published election key questions.

“The European Union was created as a peace project,” recalls Jan Gildemeister, Managing Director of the Action Committee Service for Peace (AGDF). According to Gildemeister, the EU motivated countries that had been enemies in world wars to cooperate peacefully and helped to overcome the East-West divide in Europe after the end of the Cold War. It therefore rightly claims that the members must commit themselves to democratic standards, peaceful dispute resolution and human rights. “We want to ensure that the EU develops into a peace project in its external relations as well”, supported Christoph Bongard from forumZFD.

When it comes to Europe, the main focus since February 2022 has been on Russia’s war against Ukraine and the support given to Ukraine by the EU and its member states. “With our election key questions, we also want to draw attention to issues that are hardly noticed in the shadow of the war, although they are of fundamental importance for further European and global development,” emphasises Antje Heider-Rottwilm, Chairwoman of the European peace church network Church and Peace.

According to the participating organisations and associations, these challenges include shaping a credible climate and environmental policy and a commitment to sustainable economic activity and fair trade, as well as a foreign and security policy that counteracts a new global arms race and not only defines security in military terms, but also focuses on human security.

“Security policy must be designed in such a way that it does not lead to isolation,” demands Gerold König, Chairman of the German section of the international Catholic peace movement pax christi. And security in Europe must not come at the expense of security and human rights elsewhere, he adds. It is therefore important to consistently support the development of institutions for peaceful dispute resolution and instruments for civil conflict management, both at European and global level. In the view of the peace organisations, state and civil society actors must work together here, as this is the only way to bring together expertise and experience.

However, European policy is only credible if it reorganises relations with the countries of the global South and puts them on a fairer footing, and if it takes a look at the causes of violent conflicts and critically examines its own contributions to the lack of peace, warns Martina Fischer from the Platform for Civil Conflict Transformation. The associations also criticise: “Numerous weapons that are used worldwide to commit the most serious human rights violations and war crimes originate from European production. This must change!”

In the European elections on June 6-9, all citizens have the right and the opportunity to influence the composition of the European Parliament and thus the policies of the EU. “The election key questions are intended to encourage people to critically question the candidates on the party lists,” emphasises Duška Borosac-Knabe, Director of the Mennonite Peace Centre Berlin.

The election key questions deal specifically with topics such as the expansion of peacebuilding and civilian peace missions, a human rights-based asylum and migration policy, a fairer organisation of relations with the countries of the global South, the limitation and control of arms projects and arms exports as well as a revival of arms control and the dismantling of nuclear weapons.

The election test stones “For a Europe capable of peace and solidarity” can be found on the Internet at www.friedensdienst.de, www.paxchristi.de, www.forumZFD.de/eu-wahl-2024, www.church-and-peace.org, among others.

The publishers include the AGDF, Bread for the World, Church and Peace – European Peace Church Network, the forum ZFD, the Mennonite Peace Centre Berlin, pax christi and the Platform for Civil Conflict Transformation.

Press contact:
OKRin i.R. Antje Heider-Rottwilm, President of Church and Peace, +49 172 5162 799