System of voting in the EU elections
The electoral system of the EU elections is purely proportional.
As voting is mandatory, the electoral roll of the EU elections coincide with those of the National Parliamentary Elections. The election is held simultaneously at the total Territory by polling stations and by regions applicable to National Parliamentary Elections.
Voting is based on an open list system, so voters can indicate a preference for one or more candidates on the list.
The right of vote is recognized to those citizens at the age of 18 and the right of being elected at the age of 25.
In the EU elections of 2014, in a total of 10.013.834 registered voters, 59.33 % voted (+7.36% from 2009). Of those votes, 3,8 % were either Blank or Null. Comparing to the total turnout of all member-states, which was 42.61 %, the turnout of the Greek ballot was the 4th highest in the Union, but the 3rd highest, among the 4 countries where a mandatory vote has been ratified. Voting is compulsory in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, and Luxembourg.
Greek delegates occupy 21 seats at the European Parliament.
The radicalization to the left and the rise of the Far Right
From the EU elections of 2009 to those of 2014, some notable changes, linked to the national political stage, took place. The vote to the 2 most popular political parties throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the center-left Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and the center-right New Democracy (ND), saw their percentages shrinking. The former of the two was part of a coalition with other center-left initiatives and parties and faced a decrease from coming out first in the 2009 elections with 36.5 % of its previous turnout, to obtaining 8.02% as part of a multi-party coalition, placed 4th. The latter saw a decreased percentage from the 32.3% in 2004, to a 22.72% in 2009.
Two other parties saw a significant increase in their support and were central to the political debate for different reasons. One is Sy.Riz.A., the Coalition of the Radical Left (4.7% in 2004, placed 5th, to 26.56% in 2009, placed 1st), which in the following year’s National Parliamentary elections won and thus came to govern the Greek State. The other, is the far-right party of the neo-nazi organization Golden Dawn (0.46% in 2004, placing itself on the 12th position to 9.39% in 2014, placed 3rd). In 2015, Golden Dawn managed to be assigned seats at the parliament and introduce the far-right to the Parliament, as it was placed 3rd at the National elections.
Trust in the European Union
In the EU as a whole, young people aged 15-24 have a more positive image of the EU (47 %) than people over the age of 55 (37 %).
In Greece, the youngest age group is more pessimistic than the oldest one, being 1 of the 3 member-states where this is true (along with the Netherlands and Ireland).
In the EU as a whole, the youngest respondents (15-24) are most likely to believe that their country’s membership of the EU is a good thing.
In Greece, as a country highly affected by the crisis, the youngest citizens are not those most likely to consider EU membership a good thing.
In the EU as a whole, young people are the most likely to give priority to European policies for ‘jobs and the fight against unemployment’.
In Greece, this is also true, as it seems to be the trend within countries with a very high level of youth unemployment (Spain, Italy and Greece).
In the EU as a whole, for all the age categories the results are quite similar, with a few more percentage points for the 40-54 group, 59 % of whom say that ‘voting in the European elections’ is the best way to make their voice heard.
In Greece, young people are much less likely than the older age groups to believe in voting as a means of making their voice heard, as in some of the Member States currently most affected by the crisis (Spain, Ireland, Greece and Cyprus).