The Eurosceptic Effect

The Upcoming EP elections could reverse the enlargement of the European Union

18 April 2019

Wojciech Przybylski


Elections to the European Parliament are usually not a very important political event. This time, however, will be different. The end of the decades-long consensus in the parliament – which has been ruled by the grand coalition since the first direct elections – will likely see a new coalition that will harden its stance on Article 7 violations, certainly affecting Poland and Hungary but perhaps Romania as well.

Do these choices matter? In the third week of May, Europeans will choose a new European Parliament. This is usually not the most important event on the electoral map in EU countries. Suffice it to say that in the last European elections only 23.8 per cent of the Poles eligible to vote participated, which was impressive compared to the Slovaks of whom only 13 per cent went to the ballot box.

The rest of the EU is not as dramatic as Poland and Slovakia, but the turnout in the EU elections has been steadily decreasing since the introduction of direct voting in 1979 (when it was 61.99 per cent) and in the last elections the EU average was only 42.6 per cent.

European Parliamentary Futures explain potential political directions of the EU after elections in May 2019

The decline in attendance is most often attributed to the European understanding that these elections are not of particular importance and their voices are not being heard. However, this is paradoxical in the context of the constantly growing competences of the European Parliament, which now has a decisive say on matters as fundamental as the EU budget or the composition of future EU institutions.


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Wojciech Przybylski


Political analyst heading Visegrad Insight's policy foresight on European affairs. His expertise includes foreign policy and political culture. Editor-in-Chief of Visegrad Insight and President of the Res Publica Foundation. Europe's Future Fellow at IWM - Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna and Erste Foundation. Wojciech also co-authored a book 'Understanding Central Europe’, Routledge 2017. He has been published in Foreign Policy, Politico Europe, Journal of Democracy, EUObserver, Project Syndicate, VoxEurop, Hospodarske noviny, Internazionale, Zeit, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Onet, Gazeta Wyborcza and regularly appears in BBC, Al Jazeera Europe, Euronews, TRT World, TVN24, TOK FM, Swedish Radio and others.


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