Vanessa, 20, from Germany, was one of the millions of voters taking part in this year's European elections
Greek student Aliki, Irish entrepreneur Trish and Danish designers Jens and Sedsel were among the faces of the EP’s election information campaign before the European elections. They shared with all of us why the EU matters to them and why voting was so important. These are their stories
Aliki (a student from Greece), Trish (an entrepreneur from Ireland), Jens and Sedsel (designers from Denmark), Magdaléna (a factory worker from Slovakia), Ricardo (a pensioner from Spain), Tom (a farmer from Belgium), Wegene and Rudi (a couple from Austria), Dina (a mother from Latvia) explained why Europe matters to them. Watch their testimonials here.
They were part of the “Act React Impact” elections information campaign that highlighted key issues, such as employment, the EU budget and economic growth, and stressed the importance of voting and choosing Europe’s decisions makers.
Why was it different this time?
For the first time ever, the results of the European elections had to be taken into account when appointing the new president of the European Commission, due to the Lisbon Treaty having entered into force. This was the reason for most of the political parties in the European Parliament to put forward their candidate during the elections. Jean-Claude Juncker, as the candidate of the party that won the most seats in the European elections, was given the go-ahead to find a majority for his candidature. After being nominated by the Council in June, the former prime minister of Luxembourg was officially endorsed by the European Parliament during a vote in plenary in July.
Your voice counts
The increased influence has also been felt by people in Europe. According to a Eurobaromet survey after the elections, 42% felt that their voice counts in the EU, the highest it has ever been over the past 10 years.. Last November only 29% felt the same way. In addition 65% said they feel like an EU citizen, compared to 59% last autumn.