The outgoing European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering made an appeal on Wednesday to European citizens, calling on them to vote in the upcoming elections of new European Union (EU) lawmakers.
"The elections to the European Parliament are of a greatest importance. They are a great occasion to re-launch the European Union and to address the issues that are important to citizens such as the economic crisis, unemployment, climate change, energy security, globalization or immigration," Pottering said in a statement.
Pottering warned that without enough participation, extremist parties may gain in the elections, which would affect everybody.
"Today approximately 75 percent of the European Union legislation is decided by the European Parliament together with the Council of Ministers and has a direct impact in our daily lives," he said. "The greater the participation, the less likely that votes for extremist parties will distort the outcome."
Pottering said the European Parliament represents European shared values and those values stand for a joint European identity.
"Now is a very good moment to give the European project new impetus and direction. I call on voters to support those parties that are in favor of European integration and that are committed to our European values," Pottering said.
"With your vote you will take a decision about the future of Europe and about your future in our common Europe! Use your vote to decide which kind of European Union you would like to see. Go to vote! It is your choice!" he added.
The 2009 European elections will be held from June 4 to June 7 in the 27 EU member states. More than 375 million Europeans are eligible to vote for their representatives in the European Parliament for the next five years.
Sweden, Finland and Estonia have already kicked off the 2009 elections for the European Parliament in early voting. The European Parliament said on Wednesday that the latest data on early voting in the three EU countries showed a positive trend in turnout.