Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

EU elections heading for record low turnout

With European Parliament elections fast approaching, EU citizens are less interested in the poll than ever before in a situation that could see the abstention rate across the bloc hit a record 66 percent.

A soon to be released survey from the European Commission's polling service, Eurobarometer, shows that interest in the election is weak right across the union, reports France's Liberation daily.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • This June, a majority of Europeans will not be heading anywhere near a polling station (Photo: Wikipedia)

The newest EU citizens, from member states that joined in 2004 and 2007, are as indifferent as their "old European" cousins, who have decades of experience in EU electoral listlessness.

Only 17 percent of Poles intend to vote in the 4 to 7 June elections - the lowest figure of all member states, reports the survey, carried out between January and February this year.

Ascending the ladder, some 21 percent of Austrians intend to vote in the polls, followed by 22 percent of Britons, 24 percent of Portuguese and a quarter of Slovaks.

Just over a quarter of Czechs, Hungarians and Spaniards say they will make a detour out of their day to head to the polling station, while just under a third of Italians and Bulgarians will do likewise (30% and 31%).

Germany, the most populous of the EU states, is likely to see 43 percent of its citizens vote, according to Eurobarometer. France and the Netherlands, home to the rejectionists of the EU's Constitutional Treaty, come close to half the voting public, with both nations on 47 percent. Some 48 percent of Cypriots and Greeks and 49 percent of Swedes plan to go to the urns.

Only in Malta (56%), Denmark (56%), Luxembourg (62%) and Belgium (70%) will a majority of citizens of voting age cast a ballot in the parliamentary elections. In the latter two countries, voting in elections is mandatory.

The sole silver lining from the survey is that the record abstinence appears to be no indication of growing euroscepticism, but rather a feeling that the vote will not make any difference. Just 20 percent of those surveyed cited rejection of the construction of a European community as their reason for not voting.

However, some 64 percent said they were not intending to vote because they had little knowledge of the role of MEPs while 62 percent said it was because voting would not change anything.

Just say No to abstinence

Meanwhile, the European Commission is hoping to convince young people to say "No" to abstinence.

The EU executive has hooked up with MTV to launch an EU-wide campaign similar to the music channel's celebrated "Rock the Vote" initiative in the US to urge youngsters to take part in the June poll.

The European version, a somewhat less boisterous "Can You Hear Me, Europe?" will see a series of TV spots running regularly on the network's various European stations as well as an interactive website and publicity stunts in EU national capitals.

Voter participation is particularly low in the EU, with only 40 percent of young people casting a ballot in the 2004 parliamentary elections and 45.5 percent of people overall.

Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

The outgoing president of the EU council, Donald Tusk, is set to be elected as the president of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). Tusk will have to deal with the final decision over Hungary's ruling Fidesz.

Column

Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears

For a long time, Europe's strategic chattering class has been wondering what would happen if you took the US out of Europe's security architecture.

Magazine

The labour market is not ready for the future

The European labour market will face enormous challenges with its combination of an ageing population, climate change and a digital transformation and will increase the east-west divide in Europe.

Magazine

Parliament should have 'initiation' role

As EU leaders are keen to transform the way politics is performed in the bloc, the constitutionals affairs committee will play a key role in the next five years in reforming electoral processes and initiating laws.

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  2. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president
  3. Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears
  4. Finland: EU 'not brain dead' on enlargement
  5. The labour market is not ready for the future
  6. Parliament should have 'initiation' role
  7. AI skewed to young, male, and western EU, report warns
  8. US and EU go separate ways on Israeli settlers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us