Dimitris Rapidis

With less than 20 days remaining for the European Parliament Elections, it is vital to outline the proposals of the political groups, as well as the performance of the candidates for the Presidency of the European Commission. The newly established think-tank, Bridging Europe, based in Athens, Greece (to which I have the honor to preside) has dedicated one of its project to the enrichment of dialogue over the debating issues towards the European Elections on May 2014, launching lately a series of infographics in order to increase the awareness of EU citizens regarding the elections.

Over a month ago, on March 29, we published our commentary regarding the absence of data upon abstention rates towards the elections. In our study we stressed out that abstention rates were not including in the opinion polls, especially when addressing European youth. Departing from this point, we also elaborated a number of facts that led us to the preparation of infographics regarding the performance of candidates for the European Commission presidential seat, regardless of the first debate organized by Euronews and the European Youth Forum on April, 28.

Our data research team presented into the above infographic the performance of candidates based on a number of facts, including twitter followers, the leverage of hashtag campaigns, online and street polls, elaborated under the SPSS model. The outcome is quite interesting so far, as S&P candidate Martin Schultz social media campaign is the most penetrating, whereas himself along with ALDE candidate Guy Verhofstadt perform exceptionally in terms of communication appeal. Another conclusion that can be made is that in EU28, EPP and S&P share (with 44% and 46% respectively) the number of affiliated governments, whether these are one-partite or coalition governments. In simple words, the half of the EU is governed by socialists and the other half by conservatives.

Notwithstanding, we definitely consider as of paramount importance the latest diagram which depicts the overall composition of governments in the EU. In EU28, 23 member-states have coalition governments, a fact that strongly lead us to concrete insinuations regarding the next governing model in the EU, the European Parliament and the composition of the European Commission. Mixing and matching different ideological departures with common political perspectives and goals is something the EU as a united establishment is definitely in need, especially after the growing challenges that is faced with in every possible policy field.

Towards increasing citizens’ awereness and in order to clarify what are the proposals of the political groups in a number of crucial issues, we prepared three infographics that summarize the proposals of the groups.

The essence and outcome of the proposals can be gathered into the following lines: all political groups stand against youth unemployment, but propose different remedies to address this issue. But more precisely, there is no specific, qualitative proposal that can turn out to be efficient in the long-run. Regarding EU Migration Policy things are more clear, as almost all groups support a more equal burden-sharing of both the cost and the management of immigration inflows by all member-states in the EU. In foreign policy EPP and ALDE stand for a closer EU-NATO and US relationship, whereas the Greens look forward to enhancing the Mediterranean Partneship and the speed-up of negotiations with Turkey.

For GUE/NGL emphasis has been given to the elaboration of alternatives against austerity in the EU. The group calls for the establishment of a European Minimum Wage and the replacement of the obsolete Stability and Growth Pact, supporting a closer intervention of the state in the market while advocating for public investments in education. Nonetheless, the major drawback that the political group is faced with is the marginal presence of his leader and candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission, Alexis Tsipras, whose absence from the first presidential debate left negative feelings. For a political group that vies for a completely different economic policy in Eurozone, such predicaments should be avoided.

Our research interest was also invested in the proposals of ECR, a group that calls for less Europe with an advanced role of the member-states in policy-making. The major concerns for ECR are gathered around the national management of migration issues, the flexibility in employment legislation at national level, and the emphasis given towards the support of minorities and ethnic groups within the EU. Yet in some policy areas, we can definitely witness similar proposals and viewpoints with both ALDE and EPP.

Departing from all elements above, we strongly believe that these elections are entrenched with a more profound meaning, that goes beyond euroscepticism or federalism in the EU. It is more of a demanding contest between the parties and groups that have a clear saying on a number of crucial issues, aiming to put forth the deepest dynamics of the European society: the youth and these groups of professionals that despite mounting burdens strive for a more effective and responsive model of governance in the EU.

Author :

Leave a Reply