As part of the activities organised by the European Parliament to mark International Women's Day, a seminar on 2 March 2010 chaired by Ms Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, Vice-President of the EP, addressed the following issue: 'Towards 2014: What are the links between women and the European Union?'Following the European elections of June 2009, it was important to ask a certain number of fundamental questions when evaluating the outcome: What relationship do women have with the EU and what are their expectations of the EU? What role do they think the European Parliament has, and what role would they like to see it play? What is their relation to politics? And, how did they behave in electoral terms in the European elections?
In this dossier we highlight a decisive element for the next European elections in 2014: the link between women and the EU is weaker than between men and the EU. In fact, the scientific analyses have demonstrated that a vicious circle exists which we need to try and break before the next European poll.
Women are no less European than men; they just do not have the same vision of the European Union as men. In fact, they want a different kind of Europe. It is only then that women will feel closer to the EU and become more interested in matters at European level. But for now, and by far, they feel much more involved at the local and national levels.
The European Parliament regularly commissions surveys on public opinion in the Member States.
This is a means of keeping Parliament in touch with people's perceptions and expectations of its work and that of the European Union generally. The surveys are also extremely useful at the preparation, decision-making and evaluation stages of parliamentary business.
Readers will find them a source of information not only about attitudes in the EU to climate change or the current economic situation but also about how people see - and what they expect from - European elections, the European Parliament and European integration in general.