Brussels, June 4 - More than 350 candidates standing in this week's European Parliament elections have pledged that if elected, they will work for a European Union that puts public interests before private profits.
As part of the 'Pin down you candidate' initiative organised by campaign groups around Europe (www.electioncampaign.eu), citizens from all 27 EU member states have been asking candidates to commit to work for lobbying transparency, big business accountability, a just EU trade policy, and financial market regulation.
More than 350 candidates - mostly from the greens (47%), social democrats (17%) and other left-leaning parties (17%) - have signed one or more of the four pledges. Also candidates of liberal (8%), conservative (4%) or nationalist parties (3%) have declared their support for the demands.
Candidates were asked to sign four pledges: to promote a mandatory system of registration and reporting for all lobbyists influencing EU policy making; to support a strengthened legal framework for corporate accountability; to push for a EU trade agenda that prioritises economic and social justice instead of big business profits, and to work for legislation on financial markets, ending tax avoidance and fighting corruption.
"Many prospective candidates have signed the pledges for a more transparent and democratic Europe working for the interests of people and the environment - this gives us reason to be positive about the incoming parliament. If banks and big business remain uncontrolled, we're all paying the price. We hope that people go to the polls and vote for the candidates most likely to end EU's close ties with big business," says Daniel Pentzlin of Friends of the Earth Europe.
Four European-wide civil society networks - the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (Alter-EU), the European Attac network, the Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B), and the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ), of which Friends of the Earth is a member of three - representing more than 400 civil society organisations, non-government organisations and social movements from across Europe are jointly running the 'Pin down your candidate' campaign. The policy areas addressed by the campaign cover the issues and demands of each one of their networks.
The 'Pin down your candidate' campaign website - http://www.electioncampaign.eu - displays all candidates who signed the four pledges.
Actual statistical information:
Candidates pledging by EP group
Candidates pledging by country
3.0% Czech Republic