Dear ,


I was born in Serbia in 1991. The Balkan War had just begun. I was very lucky: my grandparents had already left communist Yugoslavia in the 1970s and emigrated to the United States. I grew up with them in Michigan. Fast forward many years, and I find myself back in Europe, where war again haunts our continent.


For the last seven years, together with Democracy International I’ve been fighting tooth and nail for a stronger, citizens-centred European democracy. Yet, I am not an EU citizen. I won’t be able to vote in the 6-9 June European elections. I have to stand on the sidelines as a spectator when Europe's biggest democratic exercise rolls around every five years. So, the least I can do is share with you why we at Democracy International believe this election is more important than ever.

Seven years in Germany and two European election cycles have given me a profound admiration of Europe and a sentiment of belonging that is sometimes lost among Europeans themselves. Now is the time to rekindle that sense of pride for Europe.


Firstly, the European Union is the world’s most successful and ambitious peace project in modern history. As someone born in a war-ridden country, I understand that peace is the prerequisite for shared prosperity.


Secondly, Europe’s biggest strength is its diversity. If the US is a melting pot, then Europe is a patchwork quilt. Every piece of cloth, each with its own colour, texture, and pattern is woven together to create a beautiful, diverse tapestry - still leaving room for expansion. 


Europe is a quilt, woven from the threads of the continent’s diverse cultures, languages, food, and traditions. Europe is a quilt that is unfinished. Europe is a quilt that represents progress and unity, equality and diversity. It's a place where the historic blends seamlessly with the contemporary. And for millions, it is a place of hope. For each one of us, Europe means something different. But these points bring us together: Peace, diversity, and democracy. 


Placing citizens at the heart of decision-making is what sets Europe apart from authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China. European democracy is what makes Europe so unique. Despite the individual differences, Europeans are woven by the common thread of democracy. This is what brings Europe’s motto united in diversity to life.

But, Europe's quilted patchwork is under threat. I’ve experienced firsthand the slow unraveling of democracy in Europe’s backyard in Serbia and the real threats against American democracy and civil rights. These serve as stark reminders of the fragility of our democratic systems. Europe, too, isn't immune to these dangers.

Europe stands as a beacon of hope in an increasingly dangerous world. To me, Europe is coming back to a peaceful, diverse, and democratic home. 

While this year I can’t join you at the voting booth, I urge all who can to use your vote, celebrate our diversity, and on Election Day, whether it’s a Thursday or a Sunday, make your voice heard. Let's keep the quilt of Europe stitched together for generations to come.

Yours sincerely,

Daniela Vancic,
European Programme Manager,

Democracy International e.V

P.S. You don’t need to just sit on the sidelines and wait for Election Day. In just 30 seconds, you can write your candidates to demand a more democratic EU.

Write to your candidates to demand a more democratic EU: https://democraticwave.eu/write-candidates/



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