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Brussels – The high turnout and the effectiveness of the majority in the European Parliament is of crucial importance, especially due to the important decisions pending in the areas of defense, security, industrialization, energy, and the enlargement of the EU – stated the spokesperson for the European Parliament (EP) in an interview given to AGERPRES in Brussels.

Jaume Duch emphasized that those who think that they can wait to vote until the next elections are wrong, and he believes that the situation in Ukraine should increase people’s willingness to vote.

The spokesperson recalled that there was an increase in the participation rate of young people in the 2019 European Parliament elections, and there is hope that the participation of young voters will be similar or even higher in the 2024 European elections. He suggested that this could be influenced by the fact that some countries have lowered the voting age. He opined that the European Parliament needs to adapt to the varying voter priorities by age and country, and it must maintain ongoing contact with voters even beyond the election periods.

According to the EP spokesperson, despite the fact that local and national issues get mixed with European matters during election campaigns, it is difficult to completely separate them due to their interconnection.

Jaume Duch called the violence against politicians and disinformation campaigns, particularly from countries outside the EU, worrying. He stated that efforts are being made to protect the integrity of the elections.

He also mentioned that after the elections, the EP would conduct a Eurobarometer public opinion survey to assess the impact of the Spitzenkandidat system on voter motivations but does not intend to measure the popularity of the candidates.

The Spitzenkandidat system, under which the European Parliament selects the President of the European Commission – the European Council proposes the candidate, but the EP votes – aims to provide voters with more information about the consequences of their vote, similar to national elections where voters know which party’s candidate will become the prime minister – explained the spokesperson.

Currently, according to Jaume Duch, amending the union treaty to allow the direct election of the President of the European Commission by the citizens is not on the agenda, as this would require a complete review of the structure of the European Union.

In the interview, Jaume Duch also spoke about how corruption scandals similar to the Qatar-gate have not significantly damaged the credibility of the European Parliament, as the internal reforms have strengthened transparency and accountability. (06.07.2024.)