The foundation of democracy is citizens’ participation in elections.

Turnout at EP elections has been slowly decreasing since 1979. The previous EP elections, in 2014, had record low turnout: with only 42.6% of the electorate from the 28 Member States. This weakens our democracy because parliamentarians have fewer citizens backing them with their direct vote.

Over the last decade, citizens feel increasingly far away from the politicians that should represent them and often the media and public opinion at the national level refer to the EU institutions in Brussels as disconnected from people’s interests.

1979

was the year when the first EP direct elections were held

42.6%

was the vote turnout in 2014, a record low

705

MEPs will be elected for the period 2019-2014

In fact, the European Parliament (EP) is the only body of elected politicians at the EU level and its budgetary and law-making powers have grown over the last 30 years to be a real power side by side to the European Commission (the body of officers and specialists) and the European Council (the body representing Member States)

Additionally, legislation passed in the EP is increasingly more often being adopted at the national level by Member States. This shows a clear connection between the work done at the EU and national levels.

WHAT IS THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT?

The following EP facts provide examples of the significance of the work of the current parliamentarians: