European election 2019: What happened this week?

European election 2019: What happened this week?
Copyright Reuters
By Lindsey Johnstone
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With the EU heading to the polls from tomorrow, here's what's been happening in the final days of campaigning.


With the EU heading to the polls from tomorrow, here's what's been happening in the final days of campaigning. Fake news has been hard at work, according to NGO Avaaz. Tens of thousands of Europeans protested far-right politics, while others attended a nationalist rally in Milan. Meanwhile, we headed to the Democracy Alive festival to quiz Commission presidential candidates, and to Brussels to peek inside the Parliament. Check back on and our channels from 6pm on Sunday for live coverage.

False friends

Fake content and hate speech promoting far-right views have received half a billion views ahead of the EU election, according to a study. The investigation – conducted in six countries over three months by the non-profit online advocacy group Avaaz – found that far-right groups were flooding social media with false content. The NGO reported more than 500 suspect pages and groups to Facebook, which had garnered 32 million followers and 67 million comments, likes, or shares.

Turning point

Turnout at the last election was the lowest since the poll began in 1979, dropping from 63% then to 42.54% in 2014. But who’s responsible? The system, the politicians, the media or the voters? At the Democracy Alive festival, we asked candidates for the EU's top job. Margrethe Vestager thinks many simply don’t know the elections are happening. For Bas Eickhout, bipartisanism has played a role, depicting European politics as pro-Europeans versus Populists.

Salvini holds a rosary at a rally of European nationalist parties in MilanReuters

Rallying cry

In the home stretch before this week's elections, tens of thousands took to the streets of major European cities to protest nationalist agendas. Protestors from the UK, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Bulgaria and Germany gathered under the banner of oppositon to far-right parties. Meanwhile, Milan was the venue at the weekend for a cross-European rally of nationalist parties, at which Matteo Salvini took centre stage.

Parliamentary panorama

By Monday we'll know which politicians will be taking a seat in the European Parliament for the next five years. But what does it look like when you get inside? And what about all the other people who work there besides the MEPs? In our interactive 360° story, Stephanie Burnett takes you on a tour of the Brussels building to meet the parliamentarians, staffers, journalists and even makeup artists who make the heart of European democracy tick.

Final countdown

Ahead of the polls opening tomorrow, in the Netherlands and the UK, here is a final reminder of how you can vote. Ireland votes on Friday, as does Czech Republic, where polls are also open on Saturday. Voting on Saturday are Latvia, Malta and Slovakia. And for everyone else it's Sunday – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

And in news from elsewhere...

New Scientist: Who should I vote for in the 2019 European elections?

BBC: First-time voters have their say

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