By Petros Fassoulas, head of policy and public affairs – Europe, ACCA
It is this time again in the political circle when we are asked to step up and elect Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Some view these elections as having little relevance to their everyday life, but that could not be further from the truth.
The European Parliament is, together with the Council of Ministers where member state governments are represented, the main decision-making body of the European Union. Its members decide on the rules and regulations that govern significant parts of the European economy.
The Single Market Committee, chaired by Malcom Harbour MEP, a British Conservative, has been instrumental in the design and adoption of many of the laws that govern the biggest common market in the world, where about 50% of British exports go, worth about £200 billion a year.
The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, chaired by another Brit, the Liberal Democrat Sharon Bowles MEP, played a key role in the decisions that re-engineered supervision of the banking and financial services sector in the EU.
The audit reform dossier was spearheaded in the European Parliament by Sajjad Karim, you guessed it, yet another British MEP, who was the rapporteur (the person who held the pen) while the EP’s Legal Affairs Committee scrutinised and amended the European Commission’s proposals.
So the European Parliament and its members play a crucial role and most British MEPs are usually at the core of the decisions made, decisions that affect British business. This is why the choice of who we send to Brussels is crucial. ACCA works closely with British MEPs on all the policy areas that affect our profession, so we know first-hand how important it is that our MEPs are influential, involved, active and constructive, prepared to engage, build alliances, lead, write reports, vote and be part of the decisions that affect us all.
The European Parliament Elections are not a mid-term assessment of the government or an opportunity to give mainstream parties a kicking. They produce the MEPs that represent us and our interests. It is imperative that we engage by showing up to vote so we can ensure that the people we elect are able and willing to do the job.
Voting for the European Elections takes place in the UK on Thursday 22 May and polls are open from 7am until 10pm.