french minister urges voters to turn out for euro elections
Last Updated : GMT 14:34:11
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French minister urges voters to turn out for Euro elections

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today French minister urges voters to turn out for Euro elections

Strasbourg - XINHUA

Harlem Desir, France's Secretary of State forEuropean Affairs, called Saturday for voters to take part in the upcoming Europeanelections to stem the rise of populist and Eurosceptic parties.Speaking at the unveiling of the first in a series of commemorative paving stones inStrasbourg as part of an initiative to reinforce the French city's role in Europeanaffairs, the Secretary of State said it was critically important for citizens to use theirvote on 25 May in what he described as "a pivotal election".Political analysts believe resurgent populist parties, such as France's Front Nationaland the UK Independence Party, will be the most likely to benefit from voter apathy. Abstention rates could be as high as 65 percent.Mr Desir added that he had also come to the unveiling to signify the importance theFrench government attaches to the presence of the Council of Europe (CoE) andEuropean Parliament in Strasbourg.Inspired by Hollywood Boulevard's Walk for Fame, the first two paving stones arededicated to Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister during the Second WorldWar and one of the founding fathers of the CoE, and Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-Generalof the United Nations.Led by a local association, Strasbourg for Europe, the aim of the initiative is to placemore paving stones near the city's European institutions - the CoE, the EuropeanCourt of Human Rights and the European Parliament - in order to "make Europemore visible" to residents and visitors, and remind them of the role Strasbourg hasplayed in the development of the modern Continent. Following the unveiling, Mr Desir officiated at the opening of a new centre topromote Europe and its institutions, and an exhibition entitled Make Peace,supported by the International Peace Bureau, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

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