On 2 September EODS co-organized an information session on election observation for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
The one-day virtual session, moderated by EODS Training Coordinator, Jordi Barrat, gathered over 80 participants, including 45 MEPs, and was an opportunity for MEPs and their staff to gain insight into the role MEPs can play as electoral observers. Patrick Costello, Head of Global Division (Democracy and Electoral Observation) at European External Action Service (EEAS), presented an overview of ‘What is election observation’. Heike Gerstbrein, Head of Common Foreign and Security Policy Operations & Election Observation, at Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), described the ‘Operational aspects of election observation’. Holly Ruthrauff, EODS Team Leader, explained aspects related to the structure and functioning of Election Observation Missions. The theme focused on the European Parliament’s role and approach to the Election Observation was presented by Gonzalo de Mendoza, Advisor at the Democracy and Elections unit at the European Parliament.
The activity included a panel dedicated to a peer exchange by the MEPs with field experience as Chief Observers, Maria Arena (Belgium) and Marisa Matias (Portugal), who provided practical advice to their colleagues in the Parliament. José Antonio de Gabriel, an election observer with broad experience as a EUEOM Deputy Chief Observer, shared his perspectives related to the responsibilities of election observers on election day.
The partially online and offline event took place at the European Parliament, in Brussels, and was jointly organized by EODS, EEAS, FPI and the European Parliament.