Interest in EU election higher this time around, poll shows

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 12:04 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – Europeans’ interest in the upcoming European Parliament election is significantly higher than before the last vote five years ago, according to an EU poll released on Wednesday, with poverty, health, jobs and defence seen as top campaign issues.

Sixty percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat interested in the vote, which takes place between June 6 and 9, compared to 49% before the 2019 election, the Eurobarometer survey found.

A majority of citizens from the bloc’s 27 member states, or 81%, polled in February and March, said the international context – marked by armed conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East – made voting even more important.

“Europeans are aware that the stakes are high,” the parliament’s president, Roberta Metsola, said in a video message.

The only country that did not show a rise in interest was France. Only 27% of respondents there said they had a positive image of the European Parliament, the lowest national score.

The EU conducts regular Eurobarometer surveys to track public opinion across the European Union but they do not poll support for political parties.

Other recent polls suggest EU-sceptic and nationalist parties, mostly from the far right, will make gains in the election of 720 lawmakers.

In the Eurobarometer survey, 33% of respondents picked poverty as a top campaign issue while 32% chose public health.

Next came the economy and job creation, alongside defence and security – both picked by 31% of respondents.

Tackling climate change fell from third in the late 2023 survey to fifth place. It was selected by 27% of respondents.

Some 71% of Europeans said they were likely to vote, up from 61% in the spring of 2019.

Previous surveys have shown fewer people vote than say they intend to. Turnout in the last European Parliament election was 50.66% – the highest since 1994.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Sharon Singleton)