Monday

20th Jan 2020

Political cynicism marred EU vote turnout

  • The EU vote turnout dropped from 62 percent in 1979 to 43 percent this June (Photo: EUobserver)

Lack of trust and interest in politics have come out as the main reasons for a record low turnout in the June elections of the European Parliament - the only EU body directly elected by people, a fresh survey has found.

Almost a third of respondents (28%) to the Eurobarometer poll, published on Tuesday (28 July), suggested that they do not trust or are not satisfied with politics in general and therefore did not cast their vote, with the argument mainly present in Greece (51%), Bulgaria (45%), Cyprus and Romania (both 44%).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

In contrast, only 8 percent of non-voters in Denmark mentioned this reason, in line with Luxembourgers (11%), Finns and Belgians (both 18%).

In Hungary, Malta and Spain, citizens who abstained from the EP vote said they were not interested in politics as such, while Latvians and Austrians overwhelmingly believed that the election of MEPs has no consequences and would not change anything - the third most frequent reason for ignoring the poll.

Across social groups in population, the lack of interest in politics was mainly present among young voters, aged 18 to 24, while disbelief that the EU's legislature and its make-up after the vote would matter for their life was mainly voiced by the unemployed and people with difficulties in paying their bills.

Only 2 percent of respondents said they did not know about the elections and more people (53%) admitted they had enough information to decide whom to vote than those who lacked the relevant facts (42%).

The election of the 736-member parliament took place between 4 and 7 June across the 27 member states, with a 43 percent turnout across the EU, down from 45 percent in the previous poll in 2004. In the very first EP election in the then 12-member club in 1979, the attendance was 62 percent.

In eight member states, this year's participation increased compared to the 2004 poll. In eight states it was about the same while in seven countries it was moderately lower and in four countries, the turnout was markedly lower.

The lowest turnout was recorded in Slovakia (19.6%) and Lithuania (20.9%), while the highest figures came from Luxembourg (91%) and Belgium (85.9%) - both countries where voting is compulsory. Malta, Italy and Denmark scored highest for countries with no obligation to vote.

Feature

New year, old problems for one of EU's poorest places

The year is off to a rocky start in Vaslui, one of EU's most impoverished regions and Romania's poorest county, where two 12-year olds were found in alcohol-induced coma after having spent their Christmas carol-singing money on alcohol.

MEPs mark Violence Against Women day with urgent call

According to liberal MEP Anna Júlia Donáth, "violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations existing today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, and shame surrounding it."

Feature

Malmo, a segregated city - separating fact from fiction

Despite the neighbourhood's beautiful name, the reputation of Rosengård (Rose Garden) does not so much evoke images of roses as headlines of crime and social challenges. This area of Malmö has been struggling with its notorious, mythical, image for years.

NGO reveals German firms fail to meet UN human rights rule

A new report reveals that the biggest companies in Germany fail to manage measures to protect their employees and supply-chain from human rights abuses - ahead of the government deadline for introducing tough new regulation.

NGOs expose rights abuses in EU supermarket supply chains

A new report from Oxfam reveals that many of the people producing the food on sale in European supermarkets are victims of poverty pay, harsh working conditions, gender discrimination, and human rights abuses.

News in Brief

  1. 'No objection in principle' on Huawei cooperation, EU says
  2. French aircraft carrier goes to Middle East amid tensions
  3. EU suggests temporary ban on facial recognition
  4. EU industry cries foul on Chinese restrictions
  5. 'Devil in detail', EU warns on US-China trade deal
  6. Trump threatened EU-tariffs over Iran, Germany confirms
  7. EU trade commissioner warns UK of 'brinkmanship'
  8. Germany strikes coal phase-out deal

Stakeholder

FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us