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Over 70% of EU citizens 'likely' to vote in June elections, new poll shows

The elections to the European Parliament will take place between 6 and 9 June.
The elections to the European Parliament will take place between 6 and 9 June. Copyright Virginia Mayo/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Virginia Mayo/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Jorge Liboreiro
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More than two-thirds of EU citizens say they are "likely" to vote in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament.

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The findings stem from the latest edition of the Eurobarometer, the parliament's official survey, which collected the opinions of over 26,000 people in the 27 member states.

Released on Wednesday morning, it will be the last survey of its kind to be released before the bloc-wide election, scheduled to take place between 6 and 9 June.

In total, 71% of respondents declare they are "likely" to cast a vote to choose who represents them in the 720-member hemicycle. This represents a 10-point increase compared to the lead-up to the 2019 elections. Back then, turnout reached 50.66%, upending a years-long trajectory of declining participation.

By contrast, 14% say they are "not likely" to vote while 13% remain "neutral."

Citizens from Denmark (87%), the Netherlands (86%), Sweden (81%), Finland (79%) and Germany (78%) register the highest rates of likelihood to vote.

In some countries, the likelihood to vote has surged compared to 2019, including the Czech Republic (from 39% to 58%), Romania (55% to 74%), Austria and Poland (52% to 70% in both), Cyprus (44% to 60%) and Slovakia (from 47% to 62%).

Bulgaria stands out as the only member state with a significant decrease in voting intention, falling from 57% in 2019 to 50% in 2024.

Still, the rise in the likelihood of voting is a strong trend across the board and is matched with a growing engagement in the upcoming elections: 60% say they are "interested" or "very interested," an 11-point increase since spring 2019.

On the other hand, 27% say they are "not very interested" and 13% say they are "not at all interested."

The Eurobarometer also asked citizens to rate the "importance" they attach to the elections: 53% spoke of "high importance," 36% of "medium importance" and 10% of "low importance."

The boost in attention comes at a crucial time for the bloc, as Ukraine struggles to contain Russian advances on the battlefield, the conflict between Iran and Israel threatens to spill over into a wider confrontation, and the economic concerns posed by China turn into widespread accusations of dumping.

The unpredictable state of global affairs appears to weigh heavily on voters: 81% of citizens say the "current international context makes voting even more important."

The numbers demonstrate that "Europeans are aware that the stakes are high at the ballot box," said Roberta Metsola, the Parliament's president. "These elections will be pivotal because they will decide which direction we take."

Water under the bridge

The Eurobarometer offers an overview of how EU citizens feel about the institution they will directly elect in June, which in the span of a few months has seen momentous votes on migration reform, artificial intelligence and media freedom, and a blistering lawsuit against the European Commission over the release of frozen funds to Hungary.

The hemicycle, however, has also been hit by a damaging scandal involving a small group of lawmakers and assistants who allegedly accepted cash payments from Qatar and Morocco in exchange for favourable treatment. The so-called Qatargate affair unleashed media frenzy, with journalists following every arrest, seizure and confession.

More recently, the Parliament has been struggling to contain accusations that some of its members were paid to spread pro-Russian propaganda.

Despite the bad publicity, the institution has managed to pull through mostly unscathed: 41% of respondents have a "positive" image of the Parliament, an increase of five points since the last survey conducted between September and October.

Meanwhile, 40% say their perception is "neutral" and only 18% say "negative." This marks the first time the "positive" response outweighs the "neutral" response.

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Looking at countries, Portugal (66%), Denmark (59%), Ireland (59%) and Luxembourg (53%) show the highest rates of a "positive" image.

Hungary, a country whose prime minister has suggested the Parliament should be disempowered, leans to the "positive" side (46%). 

The "negative" camp is not a majority in any member state but is noticeable in the Czech Republic (29%), France (28%), Austria (24%) and Slovenia (22%).

Overall, 56% of citizens would like the Parliament to "play a more important role."

The bloc-wide survey also asked participants to pinpoint the four topics they would like to be given priority during the ongoing political campaign.

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The fight against poverty and social exclusion (33%), public health (32%), support for the economy and the creation of new jobs (31%), and the EU's defence and security (31%) came on top, exposing the shockwaves sent by the major crises of the past few years: the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and record-breaking inflation.

Other prominent topics are action against climate change (27%), the future of Europe (26%), migration and asylum (24%), democracy and the rule of law (23%) and agricultural policy (23%), all of which have been discussed at length by lawmakers.

The results are fairly similar to those of the exclusive Euronews poll conducted by Ipsos in March, which put the fight against rising prices, the reduction of social inequalities and the support for economic growth as the main three priorities.

On a more philosophical note, the Eurobarometer posed a separate question on "values" that citizens would like the Parliament to defend. The answer? Peace and democracy.

Visit our interactive Euronews' Polls Centre to explore public opinion on European policies and upcoming EU elections.

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