Study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung Foundation ‘Europe’s Choice’ – Reflection of the EU?

IF – 05/2019

According to a recent study by the German Bertelsmann Stiftung Foundation, many EU citizens are heading into the upcoming European elections on May 26, 2019 with a negative stance towards political parties. The study surveyed more than 20,000 voters in 12 EU Member States. The rejection of certain parties will have a significant impact on the election results and will also hamper the formation of constructive political majorities in the new European Parliament. It is assumed that many people will cast a vote to ‘punish’ certain political parties, which could have a devastating effect on European policy.

Voter turnout is crucial

This means that voter turnout is particularly crucial for the future of the EU. It was apparent from some Member State elections that supporters of extreme factions and Eurosceptic parties could be more easily mobilised than loyal voters of the seated parties. Mobilising voters from predominantly pro-European political parties is one of the most important prerequisites for forming working majorities in the EU Parliament.

Lack of identification with parties

Only about six out of 100 voters identify positively with a party. Every second person totally rejects one or more parties. Voters of right-wing parties have the greatest positive and negative party identity. This means that 10.3% of voters identify with the party, while 52.8% reject it completely. More than 50% of voters also reject left-wing populist and extreme left-wing parties without exception.

Social policy favourably received

In comparison to the omnipresent topic of asylum policy, European social policy seems to be a major concern of voters. According to the study, there is a tendency towards ideological imprinting that is instrumental here. Left-wing voters want a more pronounced social union, whereas right-wing voters are in favour of minimising EU expenditure on social welfare. A comparison of countries shows that the majority of Swedes, Austrians and Dutch are in favour of reducing social expenditure. The majority of Spaniards and Greeks, on the other hand, would like to see a significant increase in social welfare expenditure.

Every vote counts!

It is often claimed that voting in the European elections makes no difference and as a result there is no need to vote. However, the Bertelsmann Stiftung study gives numerous, clear reasons that exactly the opposite is the case. Every vote counts!