EU Citizens See Increased Importance of Voting in European Elections Amid Geopolitical Tensions

Increased interest in 2024 EU elections, with security, health, and poverty as top voter priorities. Positive trends in engagement suggest citizens recognize Parliament's importance in shaping Europe's future.

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Olalekan Adigun
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EU Citizens See Increased Importance of Voting in European Elections Amid Geopolitical Tensions

EU Citizens See Increased Importance of Voting in European Elections Amid Geopolitical Tensions

The latest Eurobarometer survey conducted by the European Parliament reveals a growing interest and engagement among EU citizens in the upcoming European elections scheduled for June 2024. The survey, which collected opinions from over 26,000 people across the 27 EU member states, shows positive trends in key election indicators compared to the previous elections in 2019.

According to the survey, 60% of respondents are interested or very interested in the June elections, an 11-point increase from five years ago. This increased interest is particularly significant in countries directly impacted by Russia's war on Ukraine, such as the Czech Republic, Romania, Finland, and Poland. Additionally, 71% of Europeans say they are likely to vote, a 10-point increase compared to the 2019 elections.

Why this matters: The heightened interest and likelihood of voting among EU citizens suggest a stronger sense of the importance of the European Parliament in shaping the future of Europe. The geopolitical context, including the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, has made the elections more relevant to voters across the EU.

The survey also found that 81% of EU citizens believe the current international context, characterized by military conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, makes voting even more important. The main issues that citizens want to be discussed during the electoral campaign are the fight against poverty and social exclusion (33%), support for public health (32%), and the economy and job creation (31%). The EU's defense and security has also gained importance, especially in light of the war in Ukraine.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola emphasized the importance of citizens casting their votes to reinforce European democracy and shape the future of Europe. "Europeans are aware of the high stakes and want to have their say. This is what democracy is about," Metsola stated in response to the survey results.

Looking to the future, EU citizens prioritize strengthening the EU's position globally in the areas of defense and security (37%), energy issues (30%), and food security and agriculture (30%). The survey also revealed that a majority of EU citizens (56%) would like the European Parliament to play a more important role, while only 28% would like to see the opposite.

Despite facing challenges such as the Qatargate corruption scandal, the European Parliament maintains a positive image among EU citizens, with 41% holding a favorable view of the institution, the highest level since 2019. The survey suggests that the scandal has not significantly impacted the public's perception of the European Parliament.

With the European elections approaching, the increased interest and engagement among EU citizens indicate a recognition of the importance of the European Parliament in addressing key issues and shaping the future of the EU. With defense and security, public health, and the fight against poverty emerging as top priorities for voters, the elections are set to be closely watched across the continent.

Key Takeaways

  • Interest in 2024 EU elections up 11% from 2019, with 60% interested.
  • 71% of Europeans likely to vote, a 10-point increase from 2019.
  • Top issues: poverty, public health, economy, and EU defense/security.
  • 56% want European Parliament to play a more important role.
  • Positive perception of European Parliament, despite Qatargate scandal.