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Between Thursday 22 and Sunday 25 May, people across the European Union are going to the polls to elect 751 new Members of European Parliament. This is a rare chance for you to show potential MEPs that voters care about water and sanitation – and to inform them about how their actions can help the world’s poorest people.

Why does it matter?

Just 16 developing countries will receive priority support for water and sanitation under the next seven year EU budget. What’s more, most of the countries where the need is greatest haven’t made the list – countries like Sierra Leone, Madagascar and Niger. 

What you can do

Of course, we don’t want to tell you which party to vote for, as this is entirely your own private decision. But we do want to make sure you have the information you need to influence your candidates about the importance of water and sanitation. So here are some simple things you can do:

  1. Register to vote before 6 May >

  2. Download our quickfire briefing in case a candidate comes to your door >

  3. Join an international development hustings event in London on 7 May >

Turnout at these elections is often very low but EU institutions are the biggest multilateral aid donor in the world, so the impact they could have is huge. As a WaterAid supporter, the elections are a good opportunity to make your voice heard. 

What do MEPs do?

MEPs hold the EU institutions to account. Last year, MEPs supported WaterAid by calling for a written response from the European Commission explaining why it was not engaging in the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership.

MEPs collaborate with their counterparts in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. In April 2014, the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament agreed to coordinate their scrutiny work to ensure that African and European leaders deliver better results on ‘flagship’ development objectives, including water security.

MEPs support participation in decision-making in the EU. In February 2014, the European Parliament hosted one of its most well-attended public hearings ever on the ‘Right2Water’ campaign. This was the first successful European Citizens Initiative, and included the important call for universal access to water and sanitation.