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27 artists illustrate the power of voting ahead of EU elections

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A woman and a child checks an exhibition in EU about voting
Pan-European online initiative also has pop-up exhibitions | Photo: Mihail Novakov

Ahead of the forthcoming European elections, 27 illustrators, one from each European Union member state, designed posters on the topic of democratic participation. 

This happens as part of Get Out & Vote – an initiative by Fine Acts, a global nonprofit studio for social impact.

All works are published under an open license, so that citizens, nonprofits and activists can download and use them non–commercially to spread the message of the importance of voting for the future of Europe.

“It is so incredibly important to vote, as our elected officials shape our societies for us. I think a lot of people find the elections hard to grasp and overwhelming – especially the European Parliament elections. And I get it, it’s complex. But if you don’t vote, others will decide for you! These are big decisions, like climate, immigration, AI and we get to shape those choices together,” says Sidsel Sørensen, an illustrator and animation director based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Between concept and development, Sørensen spent several days to finish her participant image.

“Usually I spend fairly long at the ideas stage, sketching things out. Often jumping in and out of the process over a couple of days. With this election, there might be a right-wing shift in the European Parliament. I hope not, as it would be very bad for European climate policy. The inspiration for the image really came from focusing on the positive, and instead imagining how much legislation at EU level could help guide green policies across Europe – if we all vote more green,” says the artist.

For Italian illustrator Mattia Riami, who attended the Visual Communication Bachelor at IED in Milan on a scholarship and went on to be part of the team of graphic designers and illustrators at global fashion brand United Colors Of Benetton, voting is a civil exercise that should not be ignored.

“Voting is not just a right, but also a civic duty that strengthens the foundations of democratic society. Through voting, every individual has the opportunity to voice their ideas, values, and concerns, thus contributing to the creation of a more inclusive and representative political environment. Ignoring this process means abdicating the responsibility to shape one’s own future and that of future generations,” believes Riami, who spent a total of three days to create his illustration for the project.

“Today we find ourselves faced with a set of challenges that threaten to undermine democracy in Europe, and erode common values such as equality and justice. Our poster voting collection targets young people and aims to inspire hope, optimism, and enthusiasm about the potential impact of voting,” says Yana Buhrer Tavanier, Executive Director at Fine Acts. The initiative, supported by the Culture of Solidarity Fund, is part of Fine Acts’ larger campaign in support of European unity and values, which also includes art interventions across several European cities, an AR exhibition, and a vast online activation to build momentum before the elections in June. 

How the European Elections work

Voting in 2024 starts on Thursday 6 June in the Netherlands, followed by Ireland and Malta on the following day and Latvia and Slovakia on Saturday. This year Many EU member states vote on Sunday 9 June.

Most voting takes place on one day although Czechs have Friday and Saturday to cast their ballots, and Italians vote on Saturday and Sunday.

Besides voting in European elections on Sunday, Belgians will also spend time voting in national and regional elections.

By the end of 9 June, it will be clear which parties have won the Parliament’s 720 seats, 15 more than in 2019. The UK took part in the last European elections before leaving the EU, and some of its seats have since been redistributed or kept in reserve if the EU expands.

Who can vote in the European Elections

In most EU countries you have to be 18 to vote, but if you’re 16 you can vote in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Malta, while in Greece the minimum age is 17. In a handful of countries including Luxembourg and Bulgaria, voting is compulsory.

You should bring some ID such as driving license, PPS card, or passport. A full list of acceptable ID is available on electoralcommission.ie. Acceptable ID is also listed on the back of your polling card and includes passports and driving licences.

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

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Model-turned-comedian to star in BBC fashion drama

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Model-turned-comedian to star in BBC fashion drama
Written, created by and starring British actor Michelle De Swarte, Spent launches this Summer

A new six-part comedy-drama created by and starring Michelle De Swarte (The Baby, The Duchess) will premiere this summer on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

‘Spent’ is produced by BAFTA award-winning production company Various Artists Ltd. (Juice, I May Destroy You, Such Brave Girls, Sally4Ever). It is part-inspired by Swarte’s own experiences of the modelling industry and the trials and tribulations that come along with it. Michelle de Swarte stars as Mia, a former catwalk model who is on the run, mainly from herself. Long term it’s a story of personal renewal but for now, the stark reality is that her career is over, she’s flat broke and she’s homeless.

Alongside Swarte, the series stars Juliette Cowan, Amanda Wilkin, Matt King, Jamali Maddix, Karl Collins, Eleanor Nawal and Rachel Ofori.

Born in South London, Michelle De Swarte was scouted at 19 whilst working in Segaworld in the Trocedero Centre at Picadilly Circus. Soon after, Swarte moved to New York where she worked for major major fashion houses round the world including Burberry, Missoni, Tommy Hilfiger, Cartier, and Michael Kors. However, Swarte’s career as a runway model stopped abruptly and she moved back to London with nothing to show for her time in the fashion industry. Having to re-evaluate her career, Swarte transitioned to stand-up comedy and acting where she has starred as a series regular in Katherine Ryan’s series The Duchess for Netflix and had her first leading role in Sky/HBO’s The Baby.

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UK Police officer who ran down cow removed from duties

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UK Police officer who ran down cow removed from duties
The incident took place on Friday on a residential street in Staines-upon-Thames, UK at around 9pm

An officer who was driving a response police car to ram an escaped cow twice has been removed from frontline duties, Surrey Police has confirmed in a statement released on Sunday, June 16th.

The incident took place on Friday on a residential street in Staines-upon-Thames, UK, at around 9pm, where the animal was hit in front of members of the public.

“I fully appreciate the distress our handling of this incident has caused and will ensure that it is thoroughly and diligently investigated. In addition to an internal referral to our Professional Standards Department, we have also referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for independent consideration,” said Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp.

“At this time, the officer who was driving the police car has been removed from frontline duties pending the outcome of these investigations.

“I know there is much concern around the current welfare of the cow. She is now back with her owner and recuperating with her herd. She did sustain a large cut to one leg and cuts and grazes. She continues to be monitored by a vet and our rural officers are staying in contact with the owner for updates.

“I can confirm that on the night, efforts were made to contact local vets without success and efforts were simultaneously being made to identify the owner.  Why these were unsuccessful and what more could and should have been done will form a key part of the investigation.

“As well as our overriding duty to protect the public, the welfare of animals is important to us and we know people want answers about how this happened and what led up to it. I am committed to ensuring that we have a full understanding of what took place and why, and we will fully support any investigation. I have also briefed the Home Office on what action we are taking and we are liaising with several animal charities that have been in touch with us about this incident.  

 “We will continue to provide both our local communities and the wider public with updates as investigations into this matter continue”.

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Appetite for Ozempic boost Novo Nordisk brand value up 59%

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A woman checks her toned image in a mirror
Novo Nordisk emerges as Denmark’s second most valuable and second fastest-growing brand | Photo: Szabolcs Toth

Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company producing semaglutide drugs Ozempic and Wegovy which are in high demand for weight loss, is now Denmark’s second most valuable brand according to new data from Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Second only to LEGO, Novo Nordisk is valued at DKK35.4 billion, up 59%. Now also Denmark’s second-fastest growing brand, Novo Nordisk has surpassed  LVMH to become Europe’s most valuable company by market cap.

LEGO is Denmark’s most valuable brand for the ninth consecutive year, with a 3% brand value increase to DKK55.2 billion. With an AAA Brand Strength Index (BSI) rating, LEGO also remains Denmark’s strongest brand, underscoring decades of built-up brand equity and enduing nostalgia, demonstrated by excellent scores for familiarity, satisfaction, and consideration.

Tryg is Denmark’s fastest-growing brand, up 62% to DKK11.0 billion. Brand Finance data shows the brand is well-known and highly reputable across Denmark.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, commented:

“The massive and unrelenting demand for semaglutide has led to Wegovy and Ozempic supply shortages while also dramatically raising brand awareness for Novo Nordisk. With projected sales growth of 19-24% for 2024, the pharmaceutical company must expand production while strategically positioning its brand to stay ahead of emerging competitors. If Novo Nordisk manages its brand well while successfully meeting demand for its products, it could surpass LEGO in the 2025 rankings, blocking LEGO from a decade-long reign as Denmark’s most valuable brand.”

Vestas, Danfoss, and ROCKWOOL are Denmark’s strongest industrial brands. Vestas (brand value up 6% to DKK23.9 billion), the strongest industrial brand with a BSI score of 82.4 out of 100 and an AAA- rating, notes high scores across several brand strength metrics, including reputation and promotion. Danfoss (brand value up 10% to DKK12.4 billion) ranks second, with an AA+ rating. ROCKWOOL (brand value DKK3.6 billion) maintains an AA+ rating and ranks as Denmark’s third strongest industrial brand, boasting a BSI score of 75.3 out of 100. ROCKWOOL performs well across brand strength metrics, such as promotion and its ability to command a price premium.

As part of its brand valuations, Brand Finance analyses the contribution of sustainability on overarching brand value. Brand Finance quantifies brands’ sustainability perceptions in its Sustainability Perceptions Index. According to Brand Finance research, Vestas is recognised as the most sustainable Danish industrial brand across the environmental and social dimensions of ESG (environmental, social, and governance). ROCKWOOL ranked second across all three ESG dimensions among Danish industrial brands, attributed to its commitment to climate resilience and sustainability.

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