The EP and the expectations of European citizens 

Parlemeter 2018 – Taking up the challenge: From (silent) support to actual vote

With seven months to go, the Parlemeter 2018 shows a growing appreciation of the EU by Europeans and an improved awareness on the forthcoming EP elections. This well-founded optimism expressed by a silent majority can form the core of a positive European narrative that connects its citizens, delivering a contrasting narrative to a populist clamour. The Parlemeter 2018 presents the results of the survey as an opportunity to take up the challenge: From (silent) support to actual vote.

More than ever, European citizens see their country’s membership to the EU as a good thing. Not since the time between the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the adoption of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 has this indicator reached such a high level: 62% of Europeans believe that their country’s EU membership is a good thing. A majority of respondents in all 28 Member States also considers that their country has benefitted from its EU membership. This opinion grew since the last survey in April 2018 by four percentage points and now registers at 68%, the highest result ever measured since 1983. Asked for the reasons why their country had benefited, economic factors top the list, together with the belief that the EU helps to maintain secure relationships with other countries.

Europeans are also more satisfied with the way democracy works in the EU and in their country. This result comes together with a strengthened view by respondents that their voice counts in the EU. However, a decreasing trend for this trend affecting more than half of EU Member States is also noticeable. Other results from the Parlemeter 2018 also paint a more ambivalent picture, with half of respondents finding that things in the EU are going in the wrong direction.

The 2018 Parlemeter also takes a closer look at citizens’ views on the upcoming European Parliament elections, showing an overall increased awareness about the next ballot while painting a multi-coloured picture of opinions and attitudes about the elections.

41% of Europeans can correctly identify the election date in May 2019 - a nine point increase over a similar survey six months ago. However 44% still could not say when the elections will be taking place. With 51% of citizens declaring to be interested in the elections, citizens’ campaign priorities have evolved over the past six-month period. Immigration now tops the agenda (50%) followed by economy (47%) and youth unemployment (47%), whilst combatting terrorism moves down to fourth place with 44%.