Democratic Implications of the Treaty of Lisbon
and ZDF to a channel with a smaller audience share (“German
public TV,” 2014). Such observations are significant given that
Germany and Ireland have the third and fourth highest rates of
voter turnout (discounting countries where voting is compulsory)
in the European elections (Figure 1).
Source: European Parliament Public Opinion Monitoring Unit (2014).
Figure 1 Turnout in the 2014 European Elections
To the extent that the national medias paid attention to
European elections, they spoke only of how the election results
would affect domestic parties; Europe did not even enter their
discussions (“Political scientist,” 2014). Voters are not to be
blamed for their inability to distinguish between the political
standings of political groups within the EP given that their
politicians are also unable to articulate significant differences. On
the eve of the 2014 European Elections, Jean-Claude Juncker,
representing the center-right European People’s Party, and Martin
Schulz, representing the Party of European Socialists, faced off in a
TV debate. Most noticeable was how little their views differed.
Headlines following the debate highlighted the awkward harmony:
“Juncker and Schulz struggle to find differences” (“Juncker and
Schulz struggle,” 2014). The positions presented came down to a
choice between “pro-Europe” and “even more pro-Europe,” which
For similar apathy elsewhere in the EU, see Geist (2014); Grisolia (2014);
(2014); Paulos (2014).