Dutch are “most interested” in next year’s EU elections

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Despite having made the Eurosceptic party PVV the largest in the country in last month’s general election, Dutch people are generally positive about the EU, a new Eurobarometer survey shows.

Among EU member states, the Netherlands had the largest proportion of respondents saying they are interested in the next European elections (69% against an EU average of 57%), followed by Malta and Poland (both 68%).

The EU will elect a new parliament in June next year. With six months until the ballot, 82% of Dutch respondents also said they would vote, a drop of 5 percentage points compared to March, but again higher than the 68% EU average.

When it comes to the reasons for voting, 46% of Dutch respondents said they want to “change things”, while on average only 27% in the EU chose this option. The second reason was that voting is a duty as citizens (44%) and the third was the intention to support a political party (39%).

Almost three in 10 also said they want to express their discontent (the EU average was 21%) and 21% want to express dissatisfaction with the EU (the EU average was 11%).

Similar to other countries, Dutch respondents believe the top three values that the European Parliament should defend are democracy, the protection of human rights and freedom of speech and thought – in all cases with higher proportions than the EU average.

As for the European parliament priorities, Dutch citizens put climate change at the top, (50% against an EU average of 29%), the fight against poverty (44% versus 36%) and democracy.

Dutch respondents said the right to asylum was the lowest priority (4% against an EU average of 6%). Freedom of movement is also not seen as very important either, with just 7% citing it as a priority, less than half the EU average.


In the Netherlands, 52% of respondents said they have a positive view of the EU and 31% was neutral, as opposed to an EU average of 45% and 38% respectively.

The proportion of those in the Netherlands saying the country has benefited from EU membership declined from 80% last year to 77% this year, but it was still above the EU average of 72%.

The countries most likely to say they benefited from EU membership are Lithuania, Ireland and Luxembourg, and Malta, while the lowest shares were found in Italy, Bulgaria and Austria. The main benefits of EU membership are considered peace and co-operation with other member states.

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