German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, together with the heads of state of Austria and Italy, has urged voters to defend European values in the European elections in June.

“We see around the world that the fundamental values of pluralism, human rights and the rule of law – our values – are being called into question, if not openly threatened. Nothing less than the foundations of our democratic order are at stake,” Steinmeier, Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and Italian President Sergio Mattarella wrote in a guest article for the German news magazine Tagesspiegel’s Saturday edition.

A united Europe would be unthinkable without democracy, they write. “By participating in the election, we are defending liberal institutions, the rule of law, our fundamental values and our common freedom.”

Voting is a “simple but powerful means of reinforcing and consolidating this model.” In the article, the three presidents emphasize that democracy should not be taken for granted.

“We know that freedom and democracy must be defended and consolidated, that a confrontation of excessive nationalisms leads to war. History teaches us that where there is a lack of democracy, humanity and political reason are suffocated.”

The elections to the European Parliament will take place from June 6 to 9, with voting in Germany on June 9. Voter turnout in the European elections is habitually rather low.

In 2019, it was 50.7% in the EU. Belgium had the highest turnout, with 88.5% followed by Denmark. In Germany, 61.4% of those eligible to vote cast their ballot, a significantly higher proportion than in previous elections.

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