What do the Upper Barrakka lift, Għajnsielem Redcoats softball team and studies about Maltese sea currents have in common?
The answer, as the European Union is keen to point out, is that all three were made possible through EU funding.
With six months to go before European Parliament elections and anti-EU rhetoric being drummed up in several member states, the EU has launched a new website designed to give citizens tangible examples of how it directly contributes – monetarily and otherwise – to each member state.
The What Europe Does for Me campaign and website gives citizens the opportunity to find out how the EU is contributing to any particular country, sector or interest.
Launched on Wednesday by EP president Antonio Tajani, the website explains some of the EU’s key policies in simple language and gives users links to some of the EU’s key websites and documents.
In total, it features 1,400 notes on EU regions and cities.
The website is part of a broader effort by the EU to get out the vote for the May 2019 European Parliament elections.
Surveys suggest most EU citizens believe that their country has benefited from EU membership – 68 per cent, according to the most recent Eurobarometer survey.
Despite that positive sentiment, turnout for EP elections has been gradually declining since the late 1970s, from an average of 62 per cent in 1979 to just under 43 per cent in 2014.
The turnout in Malta was high, but almost 40 per cent of young people aged 18-24 did not vote.
Research has also shown that voters tend to use EP elections as a plebiscite on national issues, rather than European ones.
To try and combat that voting apathy, the EU has mobilised tens of thousands of volunteers across member states to encourage fellow citizens to vote.
Launched last June, www.thistimeimvoting.eu is a non-partisan community dedicated to raising democratic awareness by helping EU citizens connect with others who can help them better understand the EU and the future of Europe.
In Malta, public discussions and events with student and youth groups are organised by the European Parliament office every week.
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