20 May 2014

Between Apathy and Anger: Challenges to the Union from the 2014 Elections to the European Parliament

Sonia Piedrafita / Anne Lauenroth

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This EPIN study brings together contributions from a ?broad selection of member states ?and ?provid?es ?insightful analysis ?into the 2014 elections to the European Parliament on the ground. The report reveals the different factors that impede the development of genuine European elections and the consequences of the ballot in the member states covered by the study?, namely Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK?,? and at EU level. 

The report finds that:

• The EP Resolution to encourage European parties to nominate candidates for the next Commission President has not really increased public interest in the EU and voter turnout will probably remain low. • Visibility of the European top candidates in most member states has been quite limited. • National manifestos do not coincide – and sometimes event conflict with – the European parties’ manifestos. • Election debates focus on national issues; EU issues are only brought to public debate when they are relevant for domestic politics. • Again, we will see a protest vote against governments and large parties. The EP elections are still perceived as a test ahead of local and national elections, or as a vote of confidence in national governments. • This year the protest vote also concerns the EU. The report predicts a more eurosceptic ballot that might complicate decision-making in the EU, exacerbate the conflict between the national and European levels and increase tensions among member states.

Editors Sonia Piedrafita is a Research Fellow at CEPS and Anne Lauenroth is a Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).