Saturday, 29 July 2017

Democracy in the EU

A post from the European Parliament members' research service bears out two of the points I have consistently said about our participation in the democratic process of the EU: the power of the Parliament has increased since our entry, and the electorate have not been well served by the people who should have been keeping us informed.

Generally, Union citizens do not seem to exercise their electoral rights as actively as they could. Regarding European Parliament elections, for example, overall turnout is low compared to national parliament elections, and has steadily declined since the first direct elections in 1979. This is despite the fact that the Parliament’s role has increased significantly over that period. According to Eurostat, in the 2014 European elections, turnout for the 28 Member States was 42.5 %, compared to an average 68 % in national elections. Nonetheless, turnout rates in European elections vary greatly among Member States: in 2014, from 13 % in Slovakia to 89.6 % in Belgium (where voting is compulsory). According to a Eurobarometer survey on Electoral Rights 2015, most people think turnout would be higher if more information were provided on the elections, the impact of the EU on citizens’ daily lives, and the programmes and objectives of candidates.

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