New Eurobarometer Survey, 6 months ahead of the EU elections

December 11, 2023, 11:00 am

Last week the European Parliament released a new Eurobarometer survey report six months ahead of the European Parliamentary elections, overall reflecting citizens’ continued support for the EU and a higher interest in the upcoming European elections.

In a video address from EP President, Roberta Metsola, stated, “Six months ahead of the elections it is important to note that over 70 per cent of Europeans say that EU actions have an impact on their daily lives. The results of this Parlemeter show that both interests in the EU elections and the likelihood of voting have measurably increased, specifically when quantified 5 years ago, results that are very encouraging and support us in our efforts to increase voter turnout which is important because democracy can never be taken for granted.”

The survey, which was carried out between 25 September and 19 October 2023 in all 27 EU Member States, was conducted face-to-face or through video interviews with 26.523 interviewees in total.

As mentioned by President Metsola, the survey results underscore the enduring belief in the EU’s benefits. A noteworthy 72% of respondents expressed the view that their country has reaped advantages from being part of the EU. At the same time, Europeans reflected that socio-economic hardship still is a key factor of concern, even if indicators slightly improved in the course of the last six months. 73% of respondents, 6 percentage points lower than in spring 2023, think that their standard of living will decrease in the next year. Over a third of Europeans (37%) have difficulties paying bills sometimes or most of the time. Despite this, 60% of EU citizens still say they are optimistic about the future of the EU, which is especially the case among Europeans between ages 15-39, over 66% of whom expressed their optimism for the future of Europe, compared to 55% of those aged 55 or more. 

The survey, as has been customary, includes questions on EU values and topics that Europeans would like the European Parliament to defend and prioritise. As mentioned by 38% of respondents and in line with the previous Eurobarometer findings, ‘democracy’ is the main value the EP should defend, followed by the protection of human rights in the EU and worldwide and freedom of speech and thought. The protection of human rights, freedom of speech and thought, solidarity between Member States, rule of law, freedom of movement and gender equality are all values most mentioned in one or more countries. In terms of citizens’ top priority topics for the EP, the number one topic remains the fight against poverty and social exclusion, followed by public health, action against climate change, support for the economy and the creation of new jobs. 

On the topic of the upcoming elections, the survey reveals an invigorated political engagement among Europeans, particularly with about 57% of respondents having shown interest in these elections, marking a notable increase from previous years. “Overall, the majority of Europeans are interested in the next European elections, and around two-thirds say they would be likely to vote if the elections were held next week. Importantly, citizens appear to be more interested (+6 pp), more likely to vote (+9 pp), and more knowledgeable about the correct date of the next European elections (+5 pp) than in September 2018, at a similar point in time before the last elections held in May 2019.” 

Interestingly, these indicators are slightly lower among the youngest respondents than among citizens in the EU as a whole. According to the report, “respondents in the youngest age group are less likely than EU citizens overall to say they would vote if the next European elections were to be held next week (56% compared with 68% overall). Around one in five 15-24 year olds (21%) say they would not be likely to vote in these elections (compared with 16% overall)…Young respondents are therefore slightly less likely than average (47%) to attribute high importance to voting in European elections.” 

The Culture Action Europe project, “Pop the Vote! Culture on the Ballot” (co-funded by the European Parliament) recently selected 52 Changemakers between the ages of 18-30 across 14 EU countries who will use arts and artivism as a methodology to trigger citizen engagement leading up to the EP elections in June 2024. Together, Pop the Vote! will engage 5200 citizens, bring 104 artistic programs to the public and more deeply explore avenues for youth engagement, not only around the upcoming elections but for overall democratic participation that reflects the needs and voices of young people across Europe.

Find the full report here.

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