European Elections - MEPs and Constituent Communication

Strategic Communications

May 16, 2014

The EU is going through an existential crisis. Support for the EU is at an all-time low across a swathe of Member States. The campaigns for the forthcoming European Parliament elections (22-25 May) have represented an important opportunity for current and candidate MEPs to explain to citizens what the EU is and does, and the benefits of membership. But has that opportunity been squandered? In the 7th in our series of FTI Consulting snapshots on the European elections, we examine the results of some proprietary research conducted at how successful MEPs have been in communicating about the EU in the run up to the elections.

FTI Consulting conducted two surveys to evaluate the communication efforts of MEPs on specific issues, with the purpose of benchmarking and comparing how answers evolved over five months. We surveyed respondents across Germany, France, Poland, Spain and the UK, representing around 297m of 508m EU citizens, represented by 351 MEPs.

Communicating the EU

Overall the results of the poll are sobering: more than 50% of respondents thought that their MEPs’ communication was ineffective overall, with the situation stagnating or even deteriorating between October 2013 and April 2014. Poland was the only exception, where there was a slight improvement in the perception of MEPs’ communications.

When asked about the effectiveness of MEP communication on specific subjects, for example on the benefits of the EU to each of the countries, the picture changes only slightly. The most striking finding is that in Germany the proportion of respondents perceiving MEP communication on this subject to be ineffective rose from 39% to 52%.

Again, in rating the effectiveness of MEP communication on data protection, one of the most controversial subjects currently debated in Europe, in all countries bar Poland respondents expressed a more negative opinion in April 2014 than in October 2013. Indeed Poland markedly bucked the trend here, where in October 2013 only 27% believed their MEPs’ communication on this subject to be effective, compared to the 44% who believed so in April 2014.

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