Europe’s Paradoxical Parliament

What do members of the European Parliament (MEPs) actually do? Most of the 375 million or so people eligible to vote in the European elections on June 4-7 probably have only a hazy idea, or none at all, which explains why voter turnout throughout the European Union is likely to be disastrously low. Thirty years ago, when the first elections to the parliament were held, almost two-thirds of the electorate voted, but over the years, participation has dropped steadily. This year it may be 30%.

Europe’s politicians are by and large proud of the EU and the way it has both grown and deepened. But it is also the EU’s growing complexity that is at the root of voters’ waning enthusiasm, so their indifference is a matter for serious concern.