Opinion & Analysis

European Sentiment on a ballot: What the European Parliament election will reveal about the EU’s future

The meaning of the European Parliament election result lies not just in voter intention and turnout, but is also deeply linked with the participation of young Europeans. 

It feels odd to celebrate Europe Day this year. Even the countries that joined the European Union 20 years ago – such as Poland – are only marking the anniversary with low-key events. Not only are Europeans living under the shadow of a protracted war in Ukraine, and the bloc’s economies are slowly re-emerging from a year of stagnation. The other problem is that it is far from certain how Europeans feel about Europe today.

In many ways, the election result – which will become clear in exactly a month from now – will be a verdict on the current state of European sentiment. But those looking for a clear answer might be up for disappointment. We will likely see a mixed bag of good and bad news, leading to competing interpretations on the EU’s mandate for the next five years based on voter intention and turnout. Alongside these however, reactions to the election should not ignore Europe’s future – the youth – no matter how small the voter base.

About the Author: 

Pawel Zerka is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

He is a lead ECFR analyst on European public opinion. He contributes to ECFR’s Re:shape Global Europe project, which seeks to develop new strategies for Europeans to understand and engage with the changing international order.


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