Closer to the Citizens, Closer to the Ballot
Parliament’s Spring 2019 Eurobarometer, conducted three months ahead of the European elections, shows continued strong support for the European Union. Despite the challenges of the past years - and in cases such as the ongoing debate surrounding Brexit possibly even because of it, the European sense of togetherness does not seem to have weakened. 68% of respondents across the EU27 believe that their countries have benefited from being part of the EU.
In the framework of a stable and settled backing of the European project, contrasted with a continuing feeling of things going in the wrong direction, the European elections clearly become a crucial opportunity for citizens across the EU to decide on the European Union they want to live in.
At the same time, the ballot faces the challenge of a more than ever scattered public opinion and a still quite elevate level of undecidedness among potential voters.
Throughout a series of election related questions, the study not only shows that Europeans have started pencilling the date of the ballot in their calendar, they also are feeling more strongly that their voice can indeed have an impact on the future of the EU.
Against this setting, the active participation in the next European elections is not a won battle yet. A third of the population is swinging between uncertainty and moderately likelihood to vote in a moving context of priorities.
Today, the economic situation and employment prospects are again at the forefront of Europeans’ mind while migration issues are not as pressing as six months ago - and climate change and environmental protection are steadily rising through the ranks of priority issues for these elections.
The main reason cited to vote in the European elections for 44% of Europeans is because ‘it is their duty’ as a citizen. Apart from this reason, there are five others cited by more than one fifth of respondents which all have to do with participation in democratic life: respondents would vote because they usually vote in political elections and because they feel they are citizens of the European Union. Equally important voting drivers are that respondents feel they can change things by voting in the European Parliament elections and because they want to support the European Union or a political party.