EU elections will be tough again on parties in government

Euractiv, 12.02.2014

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EU elections are often regarded as second-rate polls in which national politics plays a bigger role than Europe, making it a test for parties in government. With less than 100 days to go, EurActiv looks at the power balance in Europe and how that could affect the European institutions' next mandate. [...]

According to Janis Emmanouilidis of the European Policy Centre (EPC), the low turnout in EU elections adds to this outcome: “Supporters [of mainstream parties] don’t go out and vote,” he told EurActiv.

Protest voters are generally more easily mobilised than the mainstream parties’ core electorate. There are good reasons to think this will be repeated in May: “the level of frustration is high,” says Emmanouilidis. Voters are likely to direct their protest against the raging unemployment and economic situation in Europe, rather than voting in favour of mainstream parties involved in the EU’s crisis response.

Different than in former elections, such anti-forces will address EU issues. “The issues the EU has been dealing with [since the economic crisis] lie close to citizens’ hearts and minds. A lot of anti-forces will make a link to Europe,” argues Emmanouilidis. [...]

In Poland, polling results suggest a battering for the centre-right governing parties. In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's party is set for a loss. Italy has shown widely diverging polls but could be the only country in which the party in government could gain slightly – even though “it is very hard to see at this point, according to Emmanouilidis. [...]

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