Voting turnout in European Union (EU) elections has consistently declined since the first vote in 1979 (see Figure 5.1); the slide has, in many instances, been even more marked than in member states’ parliamentary votes. The first direct election of the European Parliament (EP) in 1979 registered 65.9 per cent as the mean turnout for the nine countries participating; by 2004 the mean for the 25 member states was only 47.8 per cent.1 With few exceptions, turnout in elections for the EP has also been consistently lower than national turnout levels. In some cases the difference is dramatic.

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DeBardeleben, J, & LeDuc, L. (Lawrence). (2009). New members, old issues: The problem of voter turnout in European parliament elections. In Activating the Citizen: Dilemmas of Participation in Europe and Canada (pp. 106–127). doi:10.1057/9780230240902_6

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