The International Foundation for Better Governance AISBL

"Treasure your vote - It's a privilege!" Campaign launch on Monday 3rd March


“Treasure your vote – it is a privilege!”

Conference, Monday 3rd March

It is your civic duty to vote in the European Parliament elections! 15% of the Latvian population does not have the right to do so.

Background

With the upcoming European elections in May 2014, the Latvian Non-Citizens Congress (LNCC), with the support of the International Foundation for Better Governance, a Brussels based NGO, is launching a pan-European support campaign aimed to encourage European voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote. The LNCC is a Latvian NGO defending the interests of the 300 000 non-citizens denied an electoral voice in their country and in the European Union.

2014 is a year of transition in terms of EU governance, with the appointment of new EU external action leaders, and a year of reflection. It is ten years since the big-bang enlargement of the Union to embrace countries from Central and Eastern Europe, including Latvia. It is a time to review the progress that has been so far and reflect on the remaining problems, especially in the field of human rights. To this day, 15% of the Latvian population is disenfranchised from public life. Although they are now earning salaries and paying their taxes in Euros, they have still no rights to participate in European or national elections.

The panel of speakers will introduce the main objectives and goals of this campaign to encourage European voters to exercise their right to vote for their European Parliamentarians; they will analyse the evolution of Human Rights in the Baltic states in the past ten years. The meeting will call on European voters to decide their future and exercise their privilege of choice by making their vote count. Europe matters, the European Parliament matters and the balance of power in the EP matters. These are the first elections under the Lisbon Treaty. Europe is a way of life; it is a continent of values and fundamental rights which cannot be taken for granted. These values and rights must be protected, and the only way to do this is to make your voice heard by exercising your right to vote. The voices of 300 000 inhabitants of Latvia will not be heard - do not make the mistake of squandering your privileged opportunity.

We invite EU experts, civil society leaders, media and representatives of non-governmental organizations to support the campaign for European citizens to vote in the European Parliament elections, and to reflect on citizenship issues for residents of the Baltic States who share a common vision for European values , who wish to belong and long for inclusion.
 
What?:    Campaign Launch “Treasure your vote – it is a privilege!” from 16:00 to 18:00
When?:   3rd March (Monday)
Where?:  Brussels Press Club (96, Rue Froissart)
Why?:     Participants of the Campaign Launch will discuss the following questions:

Speakers:

Doug Henderson, former UK Minister for Europe
Elizabete Krivcova, co-founder of the Latvian Non-Citizens Congress, lawyer  
Alexander Gaponenko, co-founder of the Latvian Non-Citizens Congress, Director of the Institute of European Research
James Wilson, Director of the International Foundation for Better Governance  

Programme:

Opening statement by Elizabete Krivcova
-    “Why are we here today”
-    What is the Latvian Non-Citizens Congress
-    Background on Non-Citizens and especially on their voting situation
-    Introduction of the campaign

Keynote Speech By Doug Henderson
-   Why Europe needs your vote?

Speech by James Wilson, International Foundation for Better Governance (IFBG)
-   Introduction of the IFBG
-   Why does your vote matter?
-   Why he co-founded this campaign with the Congress

Speech by Alexander Gaponenko
-   His personal story and reasons to found the LNCC
-   Why he wrote the book/ introduction of the book: "Ethnic conflicts in Baltic countries in Post-soviet period"?
-   How the book is connected to the campaign for European Elections and work of the Congress

• Q&A and Debate
Lively discussion with the audience
Questions by the press

The debate will be followed by a networking reception from 17.30 to 18.30 hours

To reserve a place at the campaign launch please email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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