13th Oct 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.

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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.

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