ATD in Action for the European Elections

From June 6th to 9th, 2024 European elections take place. Citizens across the European Union will elect representatives to the European Parliament. In this context, ATD Fourth Word is taking action!

ATD Fourth World maintains a permanent delegation to the European Union (EU). Their aim is to advocate for people with lived experience of poverty. This is done to influence EU policies so that the reality of people in poverty is taken into account. The delegation, in consultation with national teams, gathers testimonies and insight reflecting the local reality of people with lived experience of poverty.

For the European elections ATD Fourth World has a manifesto with 6 main proposals:

  • Ensure the effective and meaningful participation of people living in poverty in the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of all polices that may affect them, through institutionalised and appropriate mechanisms and processes
  • Integrate a multidimensional and comprehensive approach to poverty within the framework of all relevant EU legislation, in line with SDG 1 (“End poverty in all its forms everywhere”).
  • Acknowledge socio-economic discrimination in EU legislation
  • Climate action must contribute to the eradication of poverty and access to fundamental human rights
  • Guarantee the right to legal existence for all people living in EU Member States throughout their lives.
  • Guarantee and implement a minimum income scheme in all Member States to enable every citizen to secure a decent standard of living.

Why is EU advocacy important?

The EU significantly impacts the daily lives of its citizens. It addresses social issues and greatly influences its member states. Moreover, even though it is the richest economic block in the world, the EU has many people living in poverty or at risk of poverty. In 2022, there were 95.3 million people at risk of social exclusion or poverty in the EU. This means 1 in 5 individuals in the EU lives in poverty or near poverty! Furthermore, with austerity measures taken at the EU and member state levels, a greater number of people face difficult situations.

With regards to overcoming poverty, the EU has committed to reducing the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 15 million by 2030 (including 5 million children)1. For ATD Fourth World this objective is not only far from achievable, but it also leaves 80 million people behind.

For the European elections, ATD Fourth World’s goal is to disseminate a document with recommendations to raise awareness among as many members of the European Parliament as possible about poverty so that this issue becomes a European priority.

European Elections


From June 6th to 9th, 2024.

EU countries organize elections on different days. For example, the Netherlands holds elections on Thursday, and France holds elections on Sunday. European elections take place every five years. The last European elections took place in May 2019.


The EU adopts legislative texts that concern everyone and significantly impact the daily lives of citizens: large countries as well as small territories, powerful businesses, and people living in poverty.

The EU also increasingly addresses social issues and influences member states more and more, particularly through development funds. Moreover, it has a budget to support businesses, farmers, vulnerable people, etc. EU legislation covers many important topics: poverty, employment, environment, security, etc.

How does the EU work?

The EU has four main institutions:

  • The European Commission: The Commission is responsible for proposing new laws and the European budget, which is adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. It is the EU executive body. It is divided into departments working on different policies, and each department is led by a Commissioner. There is one Commissioner per member state, and there is a President of the European Commission. These Commissioners are appointed by the Member States and must be approved by the European Parliament.
  • The Council of the European Union: Ministers from all EU countries meet to negotiate and adopt laws in specific fields (agriculture and fisheries, economic and financial affairs, justice and home affairs, etc.). It shares legislative and budgetary powers with the European Parliament.
  • The European Council: It is made up of the heads of state or government of the 27 Member States. It determines the general direction and priorities of the EU but does not negotiate or adopt EU laws.
  • The European Parliament: it is made up of members elected by voters in Member States to represent their interests at the European level. Members of the European Parliament are divided into different political groups. They examine new legislative proposals, amend laws to improve them, and decide on the budget of the European Union with the Council of the European Union.

In 2024, 720 Members of the European Parliament will be elected.

After the elections, Members of the European Parliament elect a President for the European Parliament, as well as the President of the European Commission and the Commissioners.

What is the difference between the council of the European Union, the European Council, and the Council of Europe:

  • The Council of the European Union, also known as the “Council” or “Council of Ministers of the EU”, represents the governments of the EU Member states and brings together their ministers by policy area (Finance, Foreign Policy, etc.). They are responsible, along with the European Parliament, for amending and adopting European laws.
  • The European Council regularly brings together the heads of state and government of the Member countries of the EU. Meetings of the European Council are also called “European summits”. This council defines the general political agenda of the EU.
  • The Council of Europe is not part of the EU. It is an intergovernmental organization that aims, among other things, to defend human rights, promote cultural diversity in Europe, and combat social issues such as racial discrimination and intolerance. It includes 46 member states, including the 27 members of the EU.

What happens during elections?

In European elections, people living in the EU elect Members of the European Parliament to represent them. In each country, most major political parties present lists of candidates for the European elections. Each country of the EU can have a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 96 seats. The number of seat varies according to population size.

It is the national political parties that compete in the elections, but once elected, most deputies choose to be part of transnational political groups. Most national parties are affiliated with a European political party.

More information on voting

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