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I was born on May 9, the day of the European Union. But I feel that I was made European for other reasons – decided by member states themselves in 1992.

Last week I was on a train with three friends from the village where I live who were passionately debating the Belgian federal and regional elections that will take place on May 25. This is the same day as the European elections. However these were not mentioned.

They noticed that I was not taking part in their discussions and asked why? One reason is that as a non-national I don’t vote in the national or regional elections in my country of residence. I can however vote for the local and European elections.

I was made European with the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht. It lays down that every citizen of the European Union has both the right to vote and the right to stand as a candidate in European Parliament elections and municipal elections in the Member State where he or she lives.

This means that what I share with the people from my community, where I have been living for the last 13 years, is the right to elect our city council officials and also members of the European Parliament.

What I share with my community is our city and Europe and this is how I was made European. After 13 years away from my home country, my daily life does not belong to it but neither does it belong totally to my host country. It belongs to a bigger community, Europe, which has recognised my right to participate in elections, wherever I live within its boundaries.

We are 12 days before the vote and I will go to the voting station. A Europe that recognises me as European deserves my recognition and participation in return.

Pierre Baussand – Director

– See more at: http://www.socialplatform.org/news/how-i-was-made-european/#sthash.RSCjJhOy.dpuf

 

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