Saturday

24th Oct 2020

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

It is difficult to acknowledge you don't know something.

A few months ago, several thousand Europeans were asked hundreds of questions for the Eurobarometer poll. One of those questions was: "Do you agree with the statement: 'I understand how the EU works'." Only 10 percent totally disagreed with that statement. Another 29 percent "tended to disagree". Peculiarly, three percent said they did not know whether to agree or disagree.

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In other words, only one-in-10 EU citizens were willing to admit they did not understand how the EU worked.

Those taking the survey were also asked to say if it was true that members of the European Parliament were directly elected by the citizens of each EU member state.

Strikingly, 15 percent said they did not know, while 26 percent said this was wrong: (incorrectly, because MEPs are, in fact, directly elected by voters in each member state).

The result indicated that quite some work is still needed to inform EU citizens of how the EU works - an all-the-more pressing need as around 350 million European citizens will have the right to go to the polls in May 2019.

This magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge.

Click here to access EUobserver's entire magazine collection.

The magazine explains what the EU's only directly-elected body does, why its MEPs are dividing their time between Brussels and Strasbourg, and how much they are paid.

It also explores the ways in which Russia is trying to influence the outcome, and how the election result could help determine the next president of the European Commission.

Most of all, it encourages people to go out and vote.

Since the first EU elections in 1979, the voter turnout figure has, sadly, known only one direction: down. At the same time, the impact of EU politics on people's daily lives has dramatically increased.

Whether you are a federalist, a moderate, or wholly opposed to EU integration, the right to vote is the source of envy in many countries across the world. Let's use it.

Opinion

How to troll the European Parliament elections

The May 2019 European parliament elections will take place in a context which make a very promising ground for protest votes and extreme views, aided by bots and algorithms.

Opinion

Migration and May elections - time to get facts right

If misinformation in the field of migration can bring a government down, as in the recent case of Belgium following the country's adoption of the UN migration pact, then it can doubtless produce a populist majority in the European parliament.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

2019 European election results

With 427 million possible voters, across 28 EU countries, electing 751 MEPs, it's the second-biggest democratic vote in the world. The results will come thick and fast - follow them here, via the European Parliament's official results site.

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