Europe Votes: CRCC hosted a high-profile event on European Elections

The CRCC’s Political Communication strand recently hosted a two-day event at the Houses of Parliament and Loughborough London. The event formed part of a European Union funded European Elections Monitoring Center (EEMC) project devoted to creating the first ever continental wide archive of electoral advertising covering all 28 member states and currently holding nearly 15000 items freely available through the EEMC website. Founded and led by Professor Edoardo Novelli of Roma Tre University, the Center has involved more than 50 teams in universities and institutes from across the continent with specialist interests in political communication and election campaigns. The EEMC’s UK representatives Dominic Wring and Nathan Ritchie are currently finalising Europe Votes, an edited volume featuring chapters analysing the development of EU Elections in nine member states from the first campaign in 1979 to the most recent in 2019.

The European Election Monitoring Project Team

Following a tour of Parliament, an EEMC delegation comprising several contributors to Europe Votes participated in an expert panel session featuring members of both Houses and the Center’s Director. Chaired by Dominic Wring, the event took a retrospective look at how EU election campaigns have evolved over forty years. Professor Novelli talked about the EEMC’s various projects and demonstrated the value and importance of its latest work identifying and collating archival material from across Europe. Guest speakers Baroness Joyce Quin and MP Alyn Smith drew on their experiences as candidates and former Members of the European Parliament who successfully contested the inaugural and most recent elections respectively.  Baroness Quin, who subsequently served as an MP and Minister for Europe and has contributed the Foreward to Europe Votes, explained how the European Parliament has come to be an increasingly important representative forum in the years since she was a member. Alyn Smith drew on his service to reflect on how MEPs from different countries and political groupings campaign and work together for common purposes. Both speakers welcomed the creation of the EEMC project, recognising its critical role in preserving the memory of EU election campaign material that can all too readily be lost if ephemera of this kind are not archived for posterity.

Event at Houses of Parliament (from left to right: Dominic Wring, Eduardo Novelli, Baroness Joyce Quinn, and MP Alyn Smith

The event held at the London Campus was introduced and hosted by our colleague Helen Drake, Professor of French and European Studies and Director of the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance.  Contributors to Europe Votes from different member states gave talks on the EU election experiences in their respective nations. Presenters included Edoardo Novelli, Melissa Stolfi (University of Rome Tre) Bengt Johannson (University of Gothenburg), Anne Jadot (University de Paris Est), Alexandre Borelli (University de Lorraine), Christine Holtz-Bacha (Friedrich-Alexander University), Sergio Perez Castaños (University de Burgos), Stamatis Poulakidakos (University of Western Macedonia), Orsolya Szabó Palócz and Péter Stumpf (both University of Szeged). The discussions covered various subjects, notably the prominence of domestic issues in EU election campaigns compared with the attention devoted to more pan-European affairs. Other topics considered included the professionalization of campaigning, changes in the visual styles and imagery, and the evolution of populist messaging across member states.

Dominic Wring presenting at Loughborough London Campus

The organisers would like to thank: Baroness Joyce Quin and MP Alyn Smith for their illuminating talks; Jane Hunt MP and her team for hosting our visit to Parliament; Helen Drake and London colleagues for their warm welcome; Edoardo Novelli and Melissa Stolfi for their pioneering work leading the European Election Monitoring project; Sandy Robertson and Paddy Smith (from the Policy Unit), Mirva Villa and Demi Wilson for their invaluable support; and our presenters and attendees for their contributions to Europe Votes and collegially participating in the engaging discussions that took place over both days.


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