Highfields Church, Cathays, hosted EU elections hustings which was a chance for people from Cardiff to question their MEP candidates about their EU policies. We were particularly interested in what the candidates had to say about climate change because of our involvement in the recent launch of the Climate Coalition’s ‘For the Love of…’ campaign. This was a chance for us to promote the need to put climate change back on the agenda.
The event was organised by Christian Aid in collaboration with CAFOD South Wales, Tearfund, Care, Wales Evangelical Alliance, Cytûn and hosted by Highfields Church. Questions covered a range of topics such as tax transparency, climate change, immigration and foreign policy. Candidates attending were Dan Boucher from the Conservative party, Jayne Bryant of Labour, Jackie Radford from the Liberal Democrats and Jill Evans who is the current sitting MEP for Plaid Cymru with the President of Cardiff UKIP giving closing remarks. The four candidates were questioned on a range of topics including tax transparency, climate change, immigration and foreign policy.
We are particularly interested in climate change because, as Plaid Cymru sitting MEP Jill Evans told us, “climate has been pushed so far off the agenda in the last five years, it is terrifying”. This is down to scare-mongering as it “shuts down the discussion”. The EU is one of the best ways to tackle this. After all the EU is the biggest donor to overseas aid and so we need to be engaged in what we are doing. Jayne Bryant, Labour candidate, said, “I would encourage people to vote if they are interested in climate issues as MEPs have a lot of say in EU climate, development and human rights issues.”
Kieran O’Brien, manager for CAFOD South Wales said, “I think we all need to be encouraged to engage with our MEPs more as they have a significant impact in shaping EU policy. Our MEPs have the chance to make a real impact and they play an important role in key climate talks and in other EU forums. If we are unsure about their role then all we need to do is ask.”
We asked Jill and Jayne if they had a message that we could pass on to CAFOD supporters about their stance on the elections and climate change. Jill got behind the Climate Coalition campaign and said she supports action on climate change for the love of Wales. Jayne wanted to give some advice about how to get involved with the EU elections, “ask your MEPs and MEP candidates to come and talk to you. I want to be as visible and available as I can in order to properly represent the people of Wales”.
Jayne and Jill both stressed that you don’t have to be a policy expert to engage with the EU elections, if you want to know something then just get in touch, ask questions and most importantly, vote. Jayne stressed that, “people who are passionate about social justice should really be interested by the European elections as it is a platform with real impact.”
If you want to find out more about the candidates and their policies then we encourage you to get in touch with them and ask them any questions that you might have.