Poll: Swedish voters in the dark on EU elections

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Peter Vinthagen Simpson - [email protected]
Poll: Swedish voters in the dark on EU elections

Less than a third of the Swedish electorate is aware that there is an election to the EU parliament in 2009, according to a new Europe Barometer survey by TNS Gallup.


Only 31 percent of the 1,000 Swedes canvassed were able to answer correctly when the next EU parliamentary elections would be held, according to the poll which was published in Dagens Nyheter on Monday.

More than half responded that they were uninterested in the election, which will be held on June 7th. The survey showed that 41 percent of Swedes intended to vote. In the last EU election in 2004 the voter turnout was 38 percent.

The results have even greater significance this year as Sweden will assume the chair of the EU at the end of June, argue Hanna Hallin of the youth organization LSU and Björn Kjellström, head of the European parliament information office in Sweden, in an opinion article in the newspaper.

"The 'EU-year' 2009 is the year Sweden will become chair and shall lead EU business, the year when a new EU Commission shall be appointed and the climate agreement for the future will be framed in Copenhagen," the pair wrote.

Over a million Swedes aged between 18 and 28-years-old will this year gain their first chance to vote in an EU election.

Hallin and Kjellström announced the launch of a coordinated campaign on Monday across the EU to engage these young people in the future of the union.

"We can make a difference. Our goal is to double the participation in the election and encourage more to take part in decision-making," they said in announcing the launch of the "Vote June 7th" campaign.

The figures are taken from a European barometer survey which is conducted across the EU's 27 member countries twice yearly and questions EU voters on a range of issues.

Swedish voters placed a high priority on climate issues with 65 percent responding that this was the most important election issue, the highest in the EU.

TNS Gallup interviewed 1,000 people in Sweden between October 13th and November 3rd 2008. A total of 26,000 people were interviewed across the union.


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