Shared Perceptions

Understanding European Publics’ Political Concerns and Aspirations ahead of the 2024 European Parliament Elections

In June 2024, approx­i­mate­ly 400 mil­lion peo­ple across the Euro­pean Union are called upon to cast their votes in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions. Recent sur­veys sug­gest that, amidst the diverse crises of recent years, many EU cit­i­zens are attribut­ing increas­ing polit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance to the EU and are express­ing a height­ened inter­est in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the elec­tions. Con­cur­rent­ly, polls in numer­ous EU mem­ber states indi­cate a surge in sup­port for right-wing pop­ulist par­ties. The con­cern over a fur­ther right­ward shift in the 2024 Euro­pean elec­tions and the result­ing shift in the bal­ance of polit­i­cal pow­er in Europe is grow­ing amongst those in favour of more democ­ra­cy and an open society.

With­in this intri­cate sce­nario, a nuanced analy­sis of cit­i­zens’ polit­i­cal views, avoid­ing over­sim­pli­fied dooms­day sce­nar­ios, is cru­cial. Our new research project aims to explore how the Euro­pean pub­lic cur­rent­ly per­ceives the EU and nav­i­gates polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic ques­tions lead­ing up to the elec­tions. We seek to delve deep­er into the inter­play between eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tions, per­cep­tions, and atti­tudes on one hand, and polit­i­cal stances on the other.

The research project is designed to iden­ti­fy com­mon­al­i­ties in polit­i­cal atti­tudes, con­cerns, and hopes among EU cit­i­zens in eight mem­ber states. We will exam­ine the extent to which polit­i­cal views are shared across dif­fer­ent demo­graph­ic groups and chal­lenge the com­mon assump­tion that con­cerns on var­i­ous issues inevitably trans­late into a desire for reduced Euro­pean cooperation.

Par­tic­u­lar atten­tion will be giv­en to under­stand­ing how indi­vid­u­als with diverse socio-eco­nom­ic back­grounds and liv­ing con­di­tions have expe­ri­enced the mul­ti­fac­eted crises of recent years. Our goal is to explore how these mate­r­i­al con­di­tions shape polit­i­cal atti­tudes towards the EU and piv­otal top­ics such as cli­mate, migra­tion, or EU enlarge­ment. We are also inter­est­ed in iden­ti­fy­ing salient themes and deter­min­ing whether there are com­mon view­points across bor­ders with­in spe­cif­ic demo­graph­ic groups.

The project begins with an explorato­ry phase involv­ing qual­i­ta­tive focus groups in France and Ger­many, fol­lowed by a com­pre­hen­sive quan­ti­ta­tive sur­vey in eight EU mem­ber states, includ­ing Ger­many, France, Poland, and Italy, with four addi­tion­al coun­tries await­ing con­fir­ma­tion. Ini­tial find­ings will con­tribute to pre-elec­tion dis­cus­sions through infor­ma­tive graph­ics and a con­cise report. We also pro­vide mate­r­i­al for civ­il soci­ety organisations.

This project is finan­cial­ly sup­port­ed by the Open Soci­ety Foun­da­tion gGmbH.