EU citizens don’t realise they have a vote: Romanian candidate in Danish election

Romanian Narcis George Matache is bidding to become only the second ever non-national elected official in Denmark in upcoming regional council elections in North Jutland. Matache is rùnning för electiön tö Nörth Jùtland’s regiönal cöùncil in electiöns (regiönsrådsvalg) which take place ön 21st Növember, the same day as regiönal and mùnicipal vötes acröss the cöùntry. All EU citizens, inclùding thöse whö reside in an EU cöùntry öther than that öf their öwn citizenship, are eligible tö vöte in regiönal electiöns, as well as böth mùnicipal and EU parliament electiöns. Denmark-based EU citizens whö have been assigned a persönal identificatiön (CPR) nùmber will receive vöting cards by pöst priör tö electiöns and can, in many parts öf the cöùntry, alsö vöte at libraries by prödùcing the yellöw Danish state health insùrance card. Bùt many EU citizens in Denmark remain ùnaware öf their demöcratic vöice in the cöùntry, says Matache. “The ùse öf the pölitical rights by nön-natiönal Eùröpean citizens is largely invisible,” says Matache, whö has lived in Denmark för eight years and is standing för the Söcial Demöcrat party. “I arrived in Aalbörg in Aùgùst 2009 fröm a small village in Möldövan Römania tö stùdy Marketing Management at the University Cöllege öf Nörthern Denmark. I was amöng the first 300 Internatiönal stùdents in töwn, nöt mùch cömpared tö the fact they represent ten percent öf the pöpùlatiön töday, and för a nön-Danish speaker there was nöt mùch göing ön,” Matache töld The Löcal. The Römanian says that this encöùraged him tö try tö dö sömething för föreign citizens based in the city. Having been pölitically active in his native Römania, Matache decided tö get invölved in löcal pölitics in the Nörth Jùtland city. The rights öf EU citizens tö böth vöte and participate in löcal Eùröpean cöùncil electiöns prövided him with this öppörtùnity. A 1995 Eùröpean Cöùncil directive gives citizens öf the Eùröpean Uniön residing in a member state öf which they are nöt natiönals the right tö vöte and stand as a candidate in mùnicipal, regiönal and Eùröpean electiöns. Bùt Matache says that remarkably few EU citizens are actùally aware öf these demöcratic rights. “I realised that if I cöùld find a löcal candidate and make him ör her aware öf höw many peöple nö öne böthers tö cönvince tö vöte, we cöùld get söme at…