Political activity of the youth

It is a well known phenomenon in Europe that younger generations (18-29) are less active politically than the older ones, but there are significant differences between the countries: they are avoiding elections in the United Kingdom, Finland and Poland the most. In these countries their turnout is only the 40-43 % of the average of the older generations. In Hungary it is 70 %, which is a better result, but still a significant gap. There is only one country where there is no gap (actually it is in favor of the youth): Belgium, where there is a compulsory voting system.

                      EU_reszvetel2 térkép

Election turnout of the generation 18-29 compared to the older ones.
 100% = same turnout, 50% = half of the turnout

Source of data: EES 2014, asking about the participation at the previous national elections. (Survey taken after the European Parliament elections)

Brexit: Reasons and Lessons to Learn

The result of the June 23rd referendum in the United Kingdom apparently markes a significant milestone in history. However, its reasons and consequences are much less obvious. It would be at least ignorance or even a serious mistake to consider it solely an internal affair of the UK, and blame the national politicians for being populist, taking risks or not being able to control the situation. British were always skeptical and critical towards the EU, and mainstream politics could not respond to the trends of the last years when these sentiments became stronger and stronger. If it had not been decided at a referendum, the issue of the EU membership could have dominated the national election anyway. This is why British voters had to be allowed to vote on the future of their country – just like the Scottish were given the same opportunity.

Although David Cameron made several mistakes in this case (the promise of the referendum was the smaller one, the unsuccessful Remain campaign was the bigger blunder), he is certainly not the only one to blame for the present situation and the uncertain future. The extremely divided Conservative and Labour Party both contributed to the Brexit, and their failure in the Remaincampaign reveals significant structural problems in regard to their capabilities to convince and mobilize the people. …

Read our position on Brexit on 4liberty.eu HERE

Polarization Instead of Dialogue? Responsibility of EU Leaders to Turn the Tide

The result of the Austrian presidential election is one of the rare cases showing pretty accurately how politically divided is the society. The difference between the winning Green and losing far-right candidates was less than 1%, which was 30 thousand votes. Although it was not the only moment when a moderate kind of resistance defeated the recently strengthened far-right, it was a more obvious victory for the moderates at the regional elections of France in December 2015 – despite the fact that, eventually, the candidates of the Republican Party of Sarkozy did not stand down so there were even competitors for moderate candidates.

Since the EU is facing the refugee crisis, electoral maps have significantly changed not only in Austria and France, but in Poland, Slovakia as well as in German regional elections. Although the Austrian political situation marks another milestone in the escalating the process, there is no sign of willingness to understand it to greater extent. The proposed idea of (financially) sanctioning countries not willing to accept refugees – as an addition to the concept of refugee quotas – does not answer the most important questions: what exactly are the responsibilities and obligations of the EU in this situation? There are two parallel debates going on in Europe: an ideological one about the role of Europe, and a technocratic one, about policy solutions proposed based on the first debate. And while many of the member states and their political parties try to win the first, the EU only seems to care about the second one.

Read our analyis on 4liberty.eu HERE .