Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

Majority of Europeans not interested in European Parliament elections

  • The European elections start on 4 June (Photo: European Parliament - Audiovisual Unit)

While a majority of Europeans say they like the European Union, more than half have declared no interest in the June European elections, a fresh study has shown.

When asked about the 4-7 June poll, 18 percent of the respondents said they were "not at all interested" in it, while 35 percent said they were "rather not interested," a TNS Opinion study for the French Political Innovation Foundation released on Monday (18 May) showed.

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

Just as many (35%) said they were "rather interested," but just 11 percent said they were "very interested."

The highest number of "not at all interested" people was found in Lithuania and Slovakia (29%) - in 2004 only 17 percent of Slovaks cast their votes in the country's first European vote making it the member state with the lowest turn-out ever.

Lithuania and Slovakia were followed by the UK (where 28% were "not at all interested"), Greece and Cyprus (26%).

By contrast, the number of "very interested" in the elections was the highest in Luxembourg (29%), followed by Ireland (25%) and Malta (23%).

Despite the lack of interest, the survey found that voting is the best way to make their opinion heard for 46 percent of those asked, way ahead of actions such as signing petitions (14%), joining a political party (13%) or a trade union (10%), or blogging (13%).

It also showed a large majority of Europeans (56%) consider the EU offers "a chance" to tackle the negative effects of globalisation, with this number being particularly high among youth (65 % of the 18-24 age group) and students (74%).

Paradoxically, not more than six percent of those aged 18-24 and only eight percent of students said they were "very interested" in the European elections, while 19 and 15 percent respectively said they were "not at all interested."

MEPs' presence key

MEPs should propose more EU spending particularly in the fields of education and training (41%), economic growth (31%), social affairs and employment (27%) and public health (26%) in order to convince Europeans to vote for them, the respondents said.

In terms of personal qualities, respondents were keen that MEPs should attend all meetings and plenary sessions in the parliament.

The MEP should guarantee "a full-time commitment to his or her functions of a European deputy" according to 30 percent of the respondents.

An experience in EU affairs (21%), direct contact with voters (20%) and political experience at a national level (14%) are other factors people see as important in order to vote for an MEP.

The study was carried out from 25 March to 15 April in partnership with the Centre for European Studies and with the contribution of the Konrad Adenauer and the Robert Schuman foundations.

A total of 15,130 Europeans aged 18 and older were asked their opinion across the bloc's 27 member states.

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.

AI skewed to young, male, and western EU, report warns

A new study reveals the current market ecosystem for artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe is uneven across both gender and demographic lines - raising new demographic concerns for the incoming AI legislation of the new commission.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia working on 'Plan B' for Nato
  2. Report: Hungary gagged EU on Israeli settlers
  3. Polls suggest draw after Johnson vs Corbyn TV duel
  4. EU ambassador to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry
  5. Hungary, Poland block EU conclusions on rule of law
  6. France: wide EU backing for enlargement change
  7. EU Council calls for policy action to protect marine life
  8. ECJ: Poland's judicial independence in doubt

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

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us