Most EU citizens do not feel represented by ‘mainstream parties’

Around 60 percent of EU citizens said in a survey on behalf of the European Union that they did not feel they were represented by “mainstream parties”.

At least 52 percent of Germans also believe that established parties are not interested in them, according to a study by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which was published on Wednesday.

Differences became apparent in income levels. Some 73 percent of respondents with a lower level of education, unemployed and low-income workers felt neglected by established parties and politicians, while 45 percent of EU citizens, on the other hand, who stated that they made good or very good earnings agreed. “Sometimes the lack of trust is blatant,” FRA boss Michael O’Flaherty warned.

This also applies to the judiciary. Around 29 percent of the participants took the view that judges could work “only now and then” without political influence. In Germany, 40 percent said that the judiciary could mostly make independent decisions, while 51 percent, on the other hand, believed that judges were only sometimes or even rarely or never free of political interference.

German study participants also took a leading position on the question of whether they were afraid of being intimidated by parties or organizations during campaign times. Thirty-seven percent agreed, seven percent said they were even very afraid of it. Possible reasons for the fears were not investigated.

The participants were also asked about the importance of human rights. While 88 percent of EU citizens described it as an important step towards a fairer society, this view received the least approval in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Czechia. Less than half of the Hungarian respondents also believed that protecting minorities was important for democracy.

According to the results, the largest gap between the beliefs of young and old is in Germany, Luxembourg and Ireland. For older EU citizens, the freedom of the opposition to criticize the government is more important than for the younger generation. In Germany, 76 percent of those over 65 years of age rated freedom to criticize government as very important; only 16 percent of 16-29 year-olds agreed.

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