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One in five Germans show apathy toward EU elections

Annika Sost
March 21, 2024

Voters' interest in EU elections varies by political affiliation, a survey shows, with right-leaning voters less likely to be engaged. Some are eager to see crises addressed nationally rather than at a bloc-wide level.

Woman holding European Union flag
The elections for the European Parliament take place June 6-9, 2024Image: Pond5 Images/IMAGO

One in five Germans showed low interest in the upcoming European elections in June, a survey published on Thursday showed. 

The data showed that interest in the elections was lower among voters on the right side of the political spectrum. Some 21% of the far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD)  supporters and 22% of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU) voters showed little to moderate interest in the EU elections.

Only three percent of the supporters of the Green Party are not interested in the upcoming elections while 16 % of the socialist Left Party voters and 10% of the responders from the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) camp said the same.

The study was carried out by the research institute Civey on behalf of the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Progressive Center Berlin.

Solving crises at the national or EU level?

The top issue for the next elections for about 75% of the respondents was migration, followed by security and defense for 63% of potential voters. Regarding ongoing farmer protests across the EU, agriculture ranked seventh at 30%. 

The EU explained: What are its biggest issues?

Opinions of the respondents differed when it came to dealing with crisis situations — a key part of the survey.

Just over half of them believe that current crises, such as Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, are best dealt with on a European level. Meanwhile, 40% believe that they are best addressed at the national level.

How to deal with crises varies massively among political affiliations. While 72% of AfD supporters support national solutions, 88% of Green Party voters want Europe-wide solutions.

For the Green Party, the SPD, The Left Party, and the economically driven FDP the interest in the election is above that of the average voter. For the AfD and CDU/CSU, interest in the election falls below average.

The difference in interest seemed not only to depend on political affiliation but also on location. Some 9% more people in western Germany were highly interested in the election than people living in eastern states, where 59.1% had a high interest in the election.

Overall, the age group that is the most interested in the upcoming EU election are the 40–49 year-olds, with nearly 70%.
Most of the participants, regardless of age group and location, thought the advantages of Germany’s membership in the EU outweighed the disadvantages.

The survey involved some 5,000 participants.

The EU explained: What are its core values?

This article was written using material from the DPA news agency.

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