Despite much hyped reports in May that turnout in the European Parliament elections had increased compared to the previous elections, the truth has now been revealed – the opposite is the case.
The updated numbers, published on the Parliament website, show that turnout across the EU struggled to reach 42.54% in 2014, well below the 43.1% initially announced, making it a new, all-time low for the democratic credibility of the European Parliament itself. It also makes many political pundits and academics who rushed to be quoted on the “increased” original statistics look foolish.
Frankly, the entire European project now lacks a meaningful electoral mandate. The “citizens” of Europe are voting with their feet – putting them up in front of the TV rather than bothering to trek to the polling stations to vote in elections which increasingly make little or no difference to the policies pursued by the “political elite” in Brussels. In the United Kingdom, polling levels were even worse, at a staggeringly low 34%, suggesting that the British electorate, as its national politicians are starting to realize, treats the whole EU construction with increasing contempt. If it is to survive and earn public respect, fundamental reform will indeed be necessary.
The Whitehouse Consultancy is one of Europe’s leading public affairs and communications agencies.chriswhitehouse